Many small businesses in San Diego -- even businesses that got federal coronavirus relief last spring -- say that without another stimulus bill, they could go under.
NBC7 asked a California Congresswoman when they can expect that lifeline, and a local business owner called her answer "scary."
These days, there's a lot more prep work but fewer clients at the Knotstop, a massage and skincare clinic in the Bankers Hill neighborhood of San Diego.
“This has been the hardest year ever,” Knotstop owner Adam Shevel said. “In 15 years, even more so than the recession. With the recession. we didn’t feel quite so helpless.”
"Helpless" but still here -- in part, because of a federal relief loan known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Last month, the administrator of the federal Small Business Administration toured The Knotstop as an example of a PPP success story in San Diego.
In San Diego County alone, more than 55,000 businesses got PPP loans, totaling more than $6.5 billion.
“But that was just to survive,” Shevel said. “Most of us who had to be closed for that time, it was just playing catch-up.”
Shevel said businesses need more help, and frankly, they needed help yesterday.
“I have lost confidence in our ability to do a stimulus bill before the end of the year,” said U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., "and it breaks my heart to say that.”
Speier, who represents California's 14th Congressional District, which is up in the Bay Area, said she doesn't anticipate another stimulus bill passing before late January.
"I don't think there's the will on the part of [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to put something together," Speier said. “It breaks my heart because I see it in my own community. People are struggling."
“That’s scary,” Shevel said when he heard what Speier said. “To hear a congresswoman say that they have no hope there is going to be a stimulus or that anything is actually being discussed right now. We need another lifeline."
Shevel is worried what he'll do if the county forces the massage industry to move back outdoors.
“What we could do in the summer months that worked outside,” Shevel said, “is not going to work in the winter. It’s kind of like a cat with nine lives. How many more lives do we have until this is all over?”
McConnell has called Democrats' stimulus proposals, which offered no second round of PPP, “unserious.” Meanwhile, more than 97,000 businesses have permanently closed over the course of the pandemic