Washington — The ADA is urging Congress to continue supporting small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing funding and streamlining the application process for Small Business Administration loans.
In an April 10 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the ADA thanked lawmakers for their “strong support of small businesses across the country during this public health emergency.”
“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, in part, seeks to help small businesses maintain employees on their payroll as well as provide for disaster relief through the use of the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin. “We believe the [Paycheck Protection Program] and [Economic Injury Disaster Loans] being administered through the Small Business Administration are going to be vital in keeping dentists across the country from closing their practices.”
Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin noted that there are more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S., according to 2018 statistics from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act appropriated $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants and $350 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
“While generous, we believe additional funding will be necessary to stem the closing of dental practices as well as millions of other small businesses, which could result in massive job losses and bankruptcies. In the first few days of loans being open for application the Small Business Administration has already distributed $66 billion in funding,” Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin said. “We strongly support the Congressional efforts underway to increase funding for both the Paycheck Protection Program and [Economic Injury Disaster Loan] grants to the greatest extent possible. Additional funding for these loans will help ease the burdens many dental practices and other small businesses are facing as the pandemic continues without an end in sight.”
The ADA also urged Congress to help streamline the Small Business Administration loan application process and to consider allowing small business dental practices to choose the 8-week period for which they can seek loan forgiveness and rehire staff. The ADA proposed the 8-week period could take place any time before Dec. 31 instead of requiring dentists and other small business owners to rehire staff back by June 30.
“This would allow these practices to make decisions about staffing and payroll based on when they plan to fully reopen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration classifies dental health care personnel in the very high exposure risk category and the ability to fully reopen dental practices are more contingent on the ability to completely control the coronavirus pandemic in a relatively short period of time,” the letter concluded.
The ADA has developed a resource page on Small Business Administration loans, which includes a Q&A for dentists.
For the latest updates about issues surrounding COVID-19, visit ADA.org/virus.