GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — After months of deadlock negotiations, momentum is growing for another coronavirus relief package. Lawmakers in Washington DC met on Tuesday to develop the framework of a $908 billion bipartisan relief bill. The proposed bill is described as a bridge between the two parties, and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, says she and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, are in sync on a plan to reach an agreement.
The framework provides $288 billion in support for small businesses, many of which are hanging on by a thread. Locally, Cooper Hall, owner of The Hog and The Hen in Downtown Grand Junction, says “I’ve seen lists of businesses that have closed.” However, Hall says he is fortunate his small businesses is licensed as a grocery-deli, and therefore, he says many restrictions do not apply to his store. Nonetheless, he has only been open for a little over a year, and says in the beginning of the pandemic, COVID still hit The Hog and the Hen hard. Hall adds, “we had a full staff, hit our stride, and then all of our staff went home, and it was just my wife and I running the show.” Recently, Hall has hired more employees, but his staff is still smaller than when he started.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D) met virtually with reporters to stress the importance of Congress passing a COVID relief stimulus bill. Sen. Bennet says, “right now, we are living through the worst phase of the pandemic.” Earlier this year, Sen. Bennet introduced the RESTART Act which would provide small and mid-sized business with flexible loans and generous repayment terms. However, Sen. Bennet says, “whatever bill we end up doing, we got to do more for small business to get them through this period of time.”
Locally, it’s small businesses, like The Hog and The Hen, that say they would benefit from a little help. Hall says, “all of us could benefit from it at this point. Every business out there is doing what they can to survive, and a lot of them aren’t.”