Shreveport Chamber of Commerce sees businesses struggling to hold on

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As Louisiana and the nation wait to see when the economy might begin to open back up amid a global pandemic, some businesses are barely hanging on in spite of efforts by the state and federal government to throw them a lifeline.

“Unfortunately, I think there are going to be businesses that will not be able to make it through this period. Really hoping folks can hold on as much they can but we also recognize this is really unprecedented both in terms of scale and the uncertainty,” said Tim Magner, President of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.

One of those businesses appears to be Habaneros in Shreveport. The restaurant posted on Wednesday that it was closing down for good.

It’s not just restaurants in danger of closing their doors. Magner said every sector seems to be impacted. Some have reported having time to fill backorders while others are filing for loans just to stay afloat.

“Our local bankers have been working overtime to try and make sure businesses have access to the Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Disaster Loans,” Magner said.

He said the Paycheck Protection Program had its problems rolling out, but some local businesses did receive money from the first round and many more have applied for the second round of funding.

“Several of our bankers were talking about literally processing hundreds of loans. We’re talking between two to three to five hundred loans. Ten of millions of dollars have been shared in the area through our local banks.”

He said as businesses try to hold on, it will be up to customers to help protect businesses from a second wave of health and economic impacts.

“They will need to do that in a way that’s thoughtful and reasonable. We can’t be like, ‘School’s out for the summer, everybody go crazy!’ We need to make sure we do our part as customers to continue to use PPE, continue to do social distancing, hand washing practices to not only protect ourselves but protect the folks who are working and protect other customers.”

He said the second round of funding from the Paycheck Protection Program may come as soon as Friday.

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