Senator Van Hollen proposes new plan to help small businesses stay afloat during COVID-19

Posted at 1:53 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 13:55:05-04

MARYLAND — On Thursday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Maryland State Senators Jim Rosapepe and Katie Fry Hester discussed his new proposed legislation that will help small businesses, nonprofit organizations and workers make it through the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Van Hollen's proposal, which is called the Rebuilding Main Street Act, would allow employers to share their payroll costs with the federal government and receive a grant to offset a portion of their other costs. In doing this, they'll be able to keep themselves above water and reopen when it is safe to do so.

In addition to what's above, some of the main points that Van Hollen talked about during his virtual presser was his want to make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). A couple of those changes include:

  • Extending the repayment period from 2 years to 5 years.
  • Business who enroll in the Work Sharing program will be eligible for grants for 50% of fixed cost, with a cap cost at $300,000.

Senators Rosapepe and Fry Hester helped Senator Van Hollen compose this proposal. They mentioned that it was based on the success and further potential of the Work Sharing program in Maryland.

Two small business owners, Steve Green and Ann Costlow, are both a part of the Work Sharing program and are also currently working on reopening their businesses.

Green, the owner of High Mountain Sports in Garrett County, had to lay off all of his employees, including himself, because of COVID-19. After applying for several loans, grants and programs, he finally came across the Work Sharing program and was able to get help. He has since hired his employees back and is now in a position to bring them back for 40 hours a week, starting next week.

The same can be said for Costlow, who's the owner of Sofi's Crepes. She says that this is the first time that she's actually felt hands-on help from the government.

The Senator’s proposal encourages and expands work sharing, an existing program already supported by the CARES Act, and provides additional support for employers and employees who are struggling.