COVID-19 Relief Package: Impact on local small businesses

Local News

EAU CLAIRE/LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The new COVID-19 stimulus package may mean relief for small business owners is on the way. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray spoke with several of those small business owners in Eau Claire on their reaction to the good news.


Relief on the way with the approved COVID-19 stimulus package is welcome news to small business owner Mickey Judkins.

Judkins said, “I’m uncertain what phase 2 will bring but for phase 1 it did provide a safety net for us and it offered help so that we could weather closing for 2 months.”

While the pandemic has gone on longer than anyone could have imagined, Judkins says expanding their online presence has been a life-line for her storefront of 35 years.

It’s just a matter of can we keep adapting to the changes of the business climate.

Brett Watnemoe, newly designated owner of Ed’s Barber Shop in downtown Eau Claire says he has his grandfather to thank for keeping afloat during these trying times.

Watnemoe said, “Over 60 years and 57 in here, he’s had so many customers that have grown up in here, came with their dads and now they’re coming with their children and I really am thankful to have all of them here supporting me.”

The relief bill includes a second round of the payment protection program (ppp) loans, available to small business owners for both previous recipients and first-time borrowers.

Watnemoe said, “Having that little bit of extra cushion coming off of work and then being able to go back in with a little bit extra it definitely helps especially considering you have to ramp up a little bit more of your cleaning, get your supplies your masks, your sanitizer.”

Judkins says what the small business community needs are consistency and relief on the state level.

“They haven’t met since April, so we need our leaders to come together, we’re all working long hours to make the changes that we need to make, so we need them to come together and work together to make sure that Wisconsinites survive this,” said Judkins.

Lenders say they are waiting for direction from the small business administration before they can begin providing relief to clients.

In Eau Claire phoebe Murray First News at Nine.

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