As Americans wait for the news of another stimulus check–Vermont Congressman Peter Welch heard from struggling small business owners Thursday and provided an update on the negotiations in Washington.

“If real help doesn’t come soon for these struggling businesses, Vermont is going to be utterly changed,” said Cynthia Ryan.

Small business owners around Vermont spoke out about the battles they’ve faced during the pandemic. They say grant money, not loans, are immediately needed to navigate losses faced, and keep their businesses afloat in the months ahead.

“It has been an absolute battle for the past 6 or 7 months,” said Josh Eckler, owner of the Trailside Inn in Killington. “For them to understand our issues, our cost structure how you can’t pay every business with the same paint brush.”

Eckler says the PPP loan isn’t a one size fits all, and didn’t provide much relief for his company. He says ski season has yet to provide that much of a boost and they’re getting to the point where they have to choose which bills they can pay.

“We have fixed costs of $20-25k a month, open or not,” he said. “You can easily multiply that from March and see how much cash we’ve gone through.”

“We know we’ve got the vaccine, we know there’s an end in sight,” said Rep. Peter Welch. “We don’t want to leave some businesses and some families on that bridge and destroyed so they can’t get back.”

Welch says lawmakers are close to reaching a deal that would provide $900b in additional relief. He says it’s not nearly enough and does not include state aid.

“That is a big setback at the moment,” Welch said. “That is where we have the most flexibility to address the specific circumstances of the individual businesses.”

Welch said he will have a chance to vote on the bill Friday.

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