COVID tales from a Rural Small Business

If you are anything like us, you very well might be tired of hearing about the virus and its impact.

In March of 2020, our world – like the world of every person on earth – changed. When the government closed businesses, we weren’t sure how long this would last, but we did not worry. After all, our high season had not started and we thought it would be a good time to catch up on some maintenance projects and update our reservation system. The news changed quickly and we started to receive one cancellation after another. Because we take a deposit, and we decided to fully refund any reservation made prior to the pandemic, we hemorrhaged cash.
About that time, the PPP and EIDL programs were announced and we immediately sought support.

The EIDL was first. We applied as soon as the Governor requested emergency funds and the request was honored by the SBA. We completed the lengthy application, digging for every piece of requested documentation and attaching it as required. It was an 8-10 hour project. When we spoke with a few other Onancock business owners, they asked if we requested the $10,000 advance and we didn’t see anything in the application for that and so we placed our first call to the SBA. There were more than 2,000 callers ahead of us in the queue. The people at SBA have been amazing, but do not have any information at all to share. They want to help, but really can’t. The support person did say that we had applied too early and the application had changed and we needed to apply again with the new format.

We created another application. This one was much simpler, but it actually didn’t ask for much information at all. After we submitted it, which was still very early in the program, we began to wait.

Day after day we burned through our cash reserves. We tried to look to the future, planning and learning all we could about the virus. Fear starts to set in.

You see, while we removed all staffing, our expenditures are primarily related to the house and services rather than staff.
Weeks passed. We cut every expenditure we could possibly do without sacrificing what we knew we needed for guests when they return.
After 6 weeks, we received an offer from the SBA (this was in the second tranche even though we applied at the earliest possible date – apparently the funds were gobbled up by much larger businesses). The offer was for a smaller-than-expected figure and we aren’t sure where they got the amount, but desperation made us accept the offer. We moved to the identity verification then the bank account validation.
We hit the big green “process” button and waited. Waited. Waited.

Denied. “WHAT?!” SMA made an offer, we validated our identity and our bank account. Denied. So, we called again. Literally no information is available. They indicated that our denial would be explained in an email, but did not know when. Eleven days later, we received an email. It read, “..certain information in your application could not be verified. If you wish to dispute, please contact…” It never provided WHAT information needed clarification. So, we called again. Again, no information is available whatsoever. She suggested I send an email and wait for the response.

That was the last activity on the EIDL.

Our experience with the PPP will be in the next BLOG, and we promise it is equally frustrating!

We are waiting for you!

We are hosting one room at a time with 72-hours before and after each room use. Look at our website for COVID practices.

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