Kirk Meurer was on observe to have considered one of his finest years ever in his enterprise putting in workplace furnishings within the Cleveland space. But when firms started sending their staff house final spring, his enterprise dried up virtually in a single day.
“Even though we didn’t have to shut down like the restaurants and bars and the travel industries, it didn’t matter,” he mentioned. “The business wasn’t there.”
After some delays, Mr. Meurer acquired cash via the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which he thought could be sufficient to maintain him till enterprise rebounded. But as the pandemic dragged on and workplaces pushed again their reopening dates to the summer season, then to the autumn, then into subsequent 12 months, it grew to become clear the corporate would want extra assist to survive.
“It’s amazing how fast you can burn through money when you’ve got nothing coming in and all the overhead to maintain,” Mr. Meurer mentioned.
In latest weeks, his firm, Modular Systems Technicians, obtained a $10,000 grant from a brand new state fund to assist small companies. He additionally acquired cash below a program that refunded $8 billion from the state staff’ compensation fund.
“It helped,” Mr. Meurer he mentioned. “It’s not nearly enough, but they did what they could.”
The cash for the Ohio grant program, and from another latest state support efforts, really got here from the federal authorities. As a part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act final spring, Congress created a $150 billion fund that states might faucet in responding to the virus. They got huge latitude in utilizing the cash — as lengthy as they did so earlier than the tip of the 12 months.
As the pandemic has flared anew, nonetheless, it has change into clear that the financial disaster will final effectively into subsequent 12 months, by which level the federal cash can be gone and state budgets can be unable to choose up the slack. So states are racing to use what’s left of the CARES Act cash to shore up their economies and construct a buffer for the winter.