Small businesses navigate loan process, officials warn about scammers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dining is much quieter at the Elbow Room in Northwest Fresno. Sales are off 80-90 percent since the shelter in place order.

Owner Mike Shirnian is also on the California Restaurant Association Board and says these are heartbreaking times.

"It's predicted that 20-30 percent of these independent restaurants that we all go to will never reopen again because of this particular problem, the way it's being handled," said Mike Shirinian, Elbow Room owner.

Shirnian says navigating loans can be tricky. He got himself a CPA, lawyer and went to an SBA lender to get some help.

President Trump signed the $376 billion CARES Act for American workers and small businesses.

We spoke with Dawn Golik, with the Fresno SBA.

She says businesses can go online to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan or The Paycheck Protection Program,

"A period of deferment where there is no payment required. For the Paycheck Protection Program, it would be six months for the economic injury disaster loan program a year. What that does for businesses is give them access to capital now, some time to stabilize their business to recover," Golik said.

Many businesses are vulnerable and scammers have already been out.

"Businesses should be very suspicious of anybody that makes promises about them being able to get them a loan or requests any sort of proprietory information, banking information, social security number, tax id number," Golik said.

She urges people to contact them at Fresnosba.gov if they experience scams.

As for Shirnian, he is taking proactive steps to keep his restaurant going after 30 years in business. He says there are 90,000 independent restaurants in California and the financial impact is great.

"The hospitality industry in California generates 7 billion dollars in sales tax, so the politicians better get this right," Shirinian said.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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