BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Small businesses in Birmingham who may be struggling due to the coronavirus now may have some financial help. The Birmingham City Council approved a $1million dollar loan program. Now those businesses have to apply for help and do it quickly.
The program is aimed at businesses with 50 or less employers and provides small businesses loans ranging from $10,000 to $25,000, interest free for 180 days.
“We think this is an aggressive approach to help our small businesses. These are uncharted waters. We want to be sure we can get small businesses back up and open again.” William Parker. Birmingham City Council President said.
But the owner of the downtown bar and restaurant Queen’s Park, is saying a loan program won’t work for her business.
Queen’s Park has been opened for a year and a half on 24th street north. But since the coronavirus hit it has been struggling.
"It’s obviously drastically impacted our business. We are no longer allowed to operate as a bar. I basically operate as a liquor store and a non-alcoholic catering company. We have had to furlough about half of our staff,” owner Laura Newman said.
Newman says the bar and restaurant industry is razor thin in profit margin and taking out a loan makes no sense.
“Why would I take out a loan which has 180 days of being interest free before I start paying up to five percent interest for up to 24 months when I don’t know if my business will be allowed to operate as usual,” Newman said.
Newman said she will not take the loan. She would like to see a grant program rather than a loan.
Those who are interested in the loans have until midnight Friday to apply. They will know by April third next week if they got the loan and can anticipate the loan to be dispersed by April 6th to the 15th.