MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is working on the first phase of the COVID-19 recovery plan. Leaders are keeping in mind small businesses still looking for relief after Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans were exhausted within minutes.
Villa Romana Italian Restaurant is one of many Myrtle Beach small businesses hoping for future relief assistance. Villa Romana’s General Manager Vince Pappas had high hopes for the PPP loans.
The restaurant filled out the application the first day, only to find out the funds ran out in minutes. Pappas describes the slim opportunity as “disheartening” as he is in need to bring back his employees.
“We had to lay off everybody other than just a few of us, so it would have helped out a lot, not only us but the community and all our employees trying to come back to the business,” Pappas said.
For South Kings Highway restaurants, staying open is an accomplishment. Many close shortly after opening. Villa Romana is one of the successful restaurants as they recently celebrated 35 years of cooking meals from scratch.
“We have been here through the good, bad, worse… and hopefully better,” Pappas said.
The small business community is pulling for any local or federal financial assistance. On Tuesday, The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce said they’ll be focusing on small businesses and the local economy during the first phase of the recovery plan.
“We want to do a ‘support local’ campaign and are working on that right now preparing that to where you would hear from many of our small business members,” Karen Riordan, President and CEO of the MBACC said.
Local restaurants like Villa Romana say any assistance would go a long way. The restaurant general manager suggested aid involving tax money, hospitality relief, or local leaders helping with a marketing strategy. He says reducing the fees or cutting them in half temporarily would ease the heavy hit.
“If it could be rental assistance, waiving business license fee for six months, not having to tag it back on in the end like everyone’s talking about,” Pappas said.
The decision for more funding to go into the PPP could come as soon as this Friday. The chamber’s goal is to finish the recovery plan by the end of this month.
Count on News13 to keep you updated on relief opportunities.