SALT LAKE CITY — Utah small businesses can again apply for financial help after the federal government approved $310 billion in funding for businesses struggling during COVID-19.
The first round of funding quickly ran out, leaving a lot of businesses without help.
On Monday afternoon, takeout calls steadily streamed in to The Bayou. Kileen Alston answered calls, and prepped the orders when customers arrived.
She took bags full of food out the front door, and set them on a small table next to the door.
"This is your order right here," she said, calling out to a customer waiting in his car.
He got out with a face mask on, and walked up to the table as Kileen shut the door and locked it.
It's the new normal for running their restaurant. They've set up a makeshift to-go desk by the door, with a computer and phone.
No one at The Bayou comes within 6 feet of their customers.
It's not the way Kileen and her husband Mark Alston like to serve their customers. Not to mention, it's not good for their employees, many of whom are currently out of work.
"It's horrible. We're off 90%," Mark said, of how much business has dropped. "On a weekend where we would do 15 to $19,000 in a night, we do $1900."
It's why they applied for small business loans. Mark said they applied for everything they could through Salt Lake City, the State of Utah, and the federal government.
A federal PPP loan came through. The Bayou managed to squeeze in before the money ran out.
"If the PPP loan hadn't come through, we would have been completely out of the money on last Thursday," Mark said. "We would have been negative $10,000."
Instead, they can pay their non-working employees and continue to offer health insurance-- even if business is operating at 10% of normal.
Mark's second business wasn't so lucky with the loan money. He explained The Beer Nut didn't have a chance to apply before it all dried up.
On Monday, the flood gates reopened and in rushed a second wave of $310 billion.
The Beer Nut application should now be back in the running, but Mark explained they may not use the money if they get it.
"One of those things, that we're not 100% sure if we are going to accept it, if we get it or not yet," he said. "We're still trying to figure it out."
Curbside pickup business at The Beer Nut is doing okay enough on its own-- Mark said about 80% of normal.
"I can keep that place going with my personal funding for awhile," he said. It's The Bayou that can't keep going on its own.
Mark said the loan is a great deal because they can continue to pay employees and may not have to pay the loan back.
At this point, he isn't sure when they can reopen the restaurant and allow customers inside. With the loan, they're not in a rush and can wait until they feel it's safe to do so.
He indicated it allows them to keep running the restaurant-- even if they're running it in a whole new way.