Local businesses due to coronavirus struggling to make ends meet without federal help

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Shuttered businesses across New Mexico are having a tough time making ends meet and many are still waiting to get financial help from the feds due to coronavirus pandemic. Local businesses said they are frustrated seeing national chains like Ruth’s Chris Steak House get millions of dollars in loans meant for small businesses.

They said their mom and pop shops are the ones who need the relief to pay bills and employees. Small businesses are struggling, exploring every avenue to get financial relief during coronavirus. “It is stressful,” Phillip Blackman of Blackman’s Championship Martial Arts said. “It is not comfortable.”

“It has been a very long and difficult process that has become my new full-time job,” Kristine Blackman added. The Blackman’s said they applied for loans through the CARES Act as soon as they learned of it, only to find out last week that all the money was gone.

“We were just hoping to get the support from our government,” Phillip said. “We have done everything right for the last 27 years with our business and we were hoping we would get some sort of financial help.”

Bessie Romero owns Bessie’s, a craft shop on Central near Atrisco. She said she is in the same boat as the Blackman’s and fears she will lose her shop. “I am going to fight,” Romero said. “I will not give up. I am not asking for much. A little bit of help would be nice.”

John Garcia with the Small Business Administration said more than 8,000 payroll protection loans were approved in New Mexico before the funds ran dry, totaling more than $1.4 billion dollars in relief. There are still hundreds of businesses on the waiting list.

“Talking to our bankers, I know that many have hundreds of applications on their desks,” Garcia said. “They got out as many as they could.” The Blackman’s are now waiting for the next round of funding to get approved by Congress. “We are in a deep limbo,” Phillip said.

The Blackman’s hope they are next in line for relief. “Help is coming in more ways than one,” Kristine said.

Garcia said it is inevitable that the money will run out again, encouraging people to contact their banks now to be prepared. Garcia said he believes the next funding will have stronger guidelines to make sure money gets to local businesses, community banks and rural areas.

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