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Small business owners confused over COVID-19 relief

Posted at 9:39 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 21:39:47-04

RAMSEY, N.J. — When statewide restrictions were imposed across New Jersey last month, Russ Van Ness was forced to close the doors of his training facility, Gifted Fitness, in Ramsey, New Jersey.

The company offers unique fitness and exercise training to those with special needs. The shutdown left his clients with nowhere to go.

“It doesn’t allow them to move, you know. A lot of them are in wheelchairs, a lot of them are stuck at home,” Van Ness told PIX11.

With no clients to work with and no revenue to make, Van Ness, like many small business owners, was hoping that the recently-approved $2.2 trillion economic relief package would come to his aid.

The problem, however, is knowing what you're eligible for and what you’ll actually get — as Van Ness came to find out himself.

“I remember filling out the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and submitting it and then just being completely confused about what I just filled out,” he said.

Apparently Van Ness isn’t alone.

“I have to tell you, this is very uncharted and a lot of people are very confused,” Paul Miller, a New York-based CPA, said.

According to Miller, small businesses should first make sure they fit certain criteria before applying for any aid. Starting on the state level would be ideal, he said.

“New York is offering the continuity loan which is up to $75,000 — that’s definitely an option for people.”

Consulting with your accountant is also advised.

With some banks already putting a cap on the number of loans being issued, time is of the essence.

For Van Ness, he said he has about a month before the going gets tough.

“We are relying on some savings that we built up, but, you know, we can’t go too long without out clients coming in.”