SBLC Lends Support To Rep. Lieu’s ‘Reopen Small Businesses Safely Act’
California Rep. Ted Lieu has introduced the “Reopen Small Businesses Safely Act,” which would direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to allow COVID-19-related emergency loans to be used to cover health and safety business improvements, with the support of the Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC), an independent, permanent coalition of national trade and professional associations—including PPAI—representing small businesses in federal legislative and regulatory issues.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Angie Craig, Thomas Suozzi, Ed Case and Kathleen Rice, would enable Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) borrowers to purchase items that ensure the health and safety of employees and customers in light of the pandemic. Rep. Lieu previously sent a letter supported by 27 members of Congress to the SBA asking to address this issue.
"In order to operate in our new reality, businesses need necessary resources to protect workers and customers," says Rep. Lieu. "Allowing EIDL loans to be used for safety and mitigation activities such as purchasing personal protective equipment, touchless point-of-sale systems and glass partitions will ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. This bill is a common-sense way to support businesses that want to operate safely during this pandemic."
Along with the SBLC, the bill is supported by Small Business for America's Future and the Small Business Council of America (SBCA). “Congress should change the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program’s rules to include purchases of personal protective equipment as an approved business expense that is eligible for forgiveness,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, chair of the SBLC’s board of directors and president and CEO of PPAI. “This would allow borrowers to use those funds to secure critical protective equipment that is needed for employees to return to work.”
SBCA Chair Paula Calimafde adds, “The SBCA is proud to stand in support of this bill. Allowing businesses to use EIDL loan funds to purchase the equipment necessary to protect their employees and customers, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is common sense. This move will be particularly impactful for small businesses and their employees given the very limited resources and revenue that many small businesses are trying to operate with during these difficult times.”