Some small businesses say they’re ineligible for most government support

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SEATTLE - Some small business owners say they are falling through the cracks when it comes to collecting grant money or finding aid during the coronavirus pandemic.

Joe and Andrea Raetzer own Steepologie Teas.

In about three years, the couple grew their small business, and had five locations and more than two dozen employees.

They say in two weeks the coronavirus has destroyed their years of work.

“We’ve gone from 26 employees to four employees. So, this whole coronavirus pandemic has literally, like other businesses, has decimated us,” said Joe Raetzer.

The city of Seattle is offering grant money to small businesses that qualify. The 2020 Emergency Fund for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 offers up to $10,000 to small businesses.

However, the Raetzers say they are ineligible due to the criteria to receive the grant.

They also say they are not eligible for unemployment benefits, and they are uncertain if they will be able to get a loan from the Small Business Administration.

“We don’t have access to anything; we haven’t received anything,” said Andrea Raetzer.

However, the Raetzers say they’re still luckier than most small businesses, because they are able to make some sales through online orders.

For now, they say they’ll have to rely on this fraction of their normal sales to try and get by.

“We know there is going to be hills and valleys like in life, but this is a cliff,” said Joe Raetzer.

Click here for a list of loan resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Visit the state's unemployment benefits website here.

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