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More than 100 CEOs warn Congress of pandemic impact on small businesses

Business leaders say that by year-end, the domino effect on goods and services in the country “could be catastrophic.”

Negotiations Over Second Coronavirus Relief Bill Continue On The Hill
Wearing a face mask to reduce the risk of coronavirus, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (R) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walk through the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in between meetings with Congressional leaders August 03, 2020 in Washington, DC. Negotiations between Mnuchin, Meadows, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) continued Monday but they did not reach an agreement on how to move forward on a new relief package to help people and businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The pandemic continues to eat away at the nation’s small businesses, and dozens of current and former CEOs are calling on Congress to do more to address it.

In a letter published August 3 and addressed to congressional leaders, a group of more than 100 high power executives emphasized the importance of small businesses in America.

They also warned the House and Senate about the potential for a more disastrous economic fallout ahead if more relief isn’t provided to small businesses.

“We cannot stress enough the urgent need to act,” the letter said. “By Labor Day, we foresee a wave of permanent closures if the right steps are not taken soon. Allowing small businesses to fail will turn temporary job losses into permanent ones.”

The business leaders said that by year-end, the domino effect on goods and services in the country “could be catastrophic.”

The letter was signed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and Dunkin’ Brands CEO David Hoffmann. Leaders from Facebook, Costco, American Express and dozens of others joined in.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz spearheaded the initiative.

It comes almost 6 months after the pandemic began rattling American companies after officials called for widespread lockdown orders across much of the country.

As states have moved toward reopening in recent months, larger firms with cash to burn and more resources have had an easier time adjusting to the new normal.

Meanwhile, many small businesses have cratered due in part to rocky relief from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The forgivable loans program was initially met with criticism over its delayed rollout and questionable terms before the Trump administration sent out a second round and extended the application deadline to August 8.

The business leaders that signed the letter to Congress are pushing for another round of PPP coronavirus aid for small businesses. They’re also requesting additional help for the hardest-hit sectors.

“To survive until a vaccine is widely available, millions of small businesses will require longer-term support from the federal government,” the letter said.