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ICYMI: Rubio: Paycheck Protection Program Still Helping Orlando Small Businesses

Apr 29, 2021 | Press Releases

Paycheck Protection Program still helping small business
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
April 29, 2021
Orlando Sentinel

A year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic began, small businesses across Florida and the country desperately needed a lifeline. As state and local governments across America shuttered brick-and-mortar stores with public health restrictions meant to slow the virus’s spread and save lives, tens of millions grappled with how they could possibly survive the pandemic and the lockdowns that followed.

While we can never bring back those who lost their lives to the virus, thankfully, we were able to pull millions of small businesses back from the brink. The bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which I co-authored, has provided a means of defending American workers: an unprecedented system of fully refundable loans to small- and mid-sized businesses, so long as they keep their employees on payroll.

In the words of Doug Holtz-Eakin, former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the PPP has been “the single most effective fiscal policy ever undertaken by the United States Government.” Across America, the program helped save approximately 55 million jobs, with an average business size of only 20 employees.

More than 430,000 businesses across our state received forgivable PPP loans, and 3 million Floridians remain employed because of them.

Last month, I embarked on a listening tour around the state to speak with PPP loan recipients firsthand…

In Orlando, one particular highlight was a business roundtable meeting that included a number of small-business owners…

One participant who stuck out to me was George Chen, the owner of Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens in Kissimmee. Mr. Chen explained to me that the pandemic had reduced business to a tiny fraction of normal operations and he had been considering closing the week that the PPP provided relief, but, thanks to the loan, he’s been able to make it through. Others detailed similar stories and described their own concerns for the future.

As Orlandoans and Floridians continue to be vaccinated and fight against the public health risks of the coronavirus, there’s still work to be done to make that future as bright and healthy as possible. The PPP will continue to play a critical role ensuring that businesses struggling with the pandemic can keep their doors open and continue serving their communities — now, and hopefully for many more years to come. 

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