South Park Shop Owners Say Time is Running Out For Relief

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Talks stalled on the Senate floor Friday between opposing Democrats and Republicans who could not come to terms on a coronavirus relief bill. And, here at home, business owners say they just want lawmakers to do their jobs so they can keep theirs.

It's lunchtime on a beautiful Friday in South Park. These sidewalks on the strip along 30th usually see a lot more shoe leather and so do these shopkeepers.

"Uh, wow!” exclaimed Tanya McAnear. “I don't think I can say that on the news what this last year has been! It’s been really difficult as a small business owner, having things shut down, open up."

With COVID-19 deaths and infections hitting record highs and discouraging economic numbers, Washington is under pressure to break deadlock on a new relief bill.

The Vintage and eclectic finds store owner says when restaurants get hit, so does she.

"That really affects all of us,” says McAnear. “When these other businesses aren't open, and the foot traffic is being slowed down. When a community is impacted, it's everybody."

"There are two closed restaurants across the street,” says Seth Marko, who owns the book shop around the corner with his wife.

He too feels fortunate to be able to keep this door open and let folks inside, to the point where he admits he feels guilty thinking about restaurants and bars less fortunate.

"It’s hard seeing them to put all the work in and not being able to stay open," says Marko.

Both McAnear and Marko say the PPP loan kept their businesses alive. But Friday morning, talks about passing a second round of relief turned into a spitting match on the Senate floor.

Democrats want aid to state and local governments. Republicans want lawsuit immunity for businesses and schools.

"Democrats are acting like it's more important to supply the governor of California with a special slush fund than to help restaurant workers in California keep their jobs," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"It's an unconscionable position: no relief for the American people unless corporations receive blanket immunity from lawsuits,” retorted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

"Get it together!!!!" said McAnear.

While temperatures run hot in D.C., she says San Diego businesses are running out of time.

“Part of keeping your neighborhood vital is having businesses that don’t have paper over the window,” says Marko. “It’s huge. It’s huge.”

"When Congress doesn't pass that stimulus it affects everybody,” says McAnear. “When people don't have money in their bank account, they're not going to spend it."

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