Small businesses in DeKalb County received CARES funds but it may not be enough for survival

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga — Small business owners had to rethink the future of their business due to the coronavirus. Some of them did not survive and others are receiving help from DeKalb County.

This is a critical time for restaurants and bars because it is time for license renewals.

Dekalb County launched its Better Business Program and offered up to $40,000 in CARES Act loans to small businesses, Bill Brown of There GastroPub took advantage.

“I used it for payroll, my culinary and maintenance, part of the rent, (and) some back payroll taxes,” Brown said.

Channel 2′s Sophia Choi went back to see how much the money helped Brown and his Brookhaven gastropub and found out it’s still in trouble, along with a lot of other restaurants and bars.

“There’s going to be a large exodus of businesses in the next six weeks. The largest sector will be restaurants,” Brown said.

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GastroPub is one of 420 small businesses that applied for help from Dekalb County and 112 of them got a loan up to $40,000 each. There are another 146 applications pending or under review, according to information obtained from DeKalb County.

While the help is greatly appreciated, according to Phillip Houston who got $20,000 for his salon, he still needs more customers and more financial help.

“We’re able to do five months. If we didn’t get anything from anybody else, a good five months we’ll be good,” Houston explained.

Small business owners are left to decide whether to pay thousands in fees to renew licenses or close for good. Time is running out.

“A lot of restaurants are trying to decide right now, the year end fees, the liquor license renewals, permit fees. To go into 2021, it’s uncertainty, we don’t know if the year’s going to be alive or dead,” Brown said.

DeKalb County gave out about 6 of the $10 million set aside for this program. Applications ended in September, but the county is now thinking about reopening applications for businesses that missed out.