Small business owners turn to government for help weathering economic storm during coronavirus crisis

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Millions of small business owners have turned to the government for help weathering this economic storm.

Rebecca Fyffe, the CEO of Landmark Pest Management in Schaumburg, is one of those business owners.

Fyffe applied for the paycheck protection program which will allow her to keep her workers on the payroll.

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"Our people are incredibly well trained so they are not replaceable with a new workforce," Fyffe said.

The Small Business Administration has guaranteed $349 billion in potentially forgivable loans under the rescue package recently signed into law by the president.

The money can be used for salaries, rent or mortgage payments and utilities.

"You want to make sure you fill out the forms. These are loans that become grants but they are through the bank," said Sam Toia, the Illinois Restaurant Association CEO.

Robin Kwiatkowski, owner of Driftwood, on Chicago's North Side, is frustrated after running into roadblocks today applying for the loan.

"I sit and I cry because this has been our life for 15 years and it's very hard for us to have to walk away. I am hoping we do get some help," Kwiatkowski said.

SBA officials say they are aware of the issues that some small business owners and lenders are facing with this new program.

"We are just really asking small business owners and lenders right now. This is a huge program that we are building from the ground. We are working through the challenges," said Small Business Administration Spokesperson, Jessica Mayle.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30th. It's for any small business with fewer than 500 employees.
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