Delaware businesses look to state government for survival as COVID-19 stifles revenue
From The News Journal
Eric Williams, who runs Mispillion River Brewing in Milford, said he’s lost about 60 percent of its business after the state prohibited dine-ins at food establishments to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
That’s lead him to have to lay off 10 of his 14 workers.
Now, Williams is one in a group of about 200 businesses in the First State who have applied for loans from state government to stay afloat during the during coronavirus shutdown. Half of them have been restaurants, according to the Division of Small Business.
Williams hopes the loans, which Gov. John Carney announced two weeks ago, can help cover his operating expenses and free up money to rehire his workers. The loans were initially created for certain hospitality-related businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and brewpubs.
“If we can save four, five or six people from going on unemployment with the support of our community, then that’s good not just for us … but it is good for our economy,” Williams said.
Carney closed down businesses to try to stop the spread of coronavirus after a March 11 positive test for COVID-19 in a University of Delaware professor. As of Friday, Delaware had 450 positive cases and 14 deaths.
Even though the virus has stopped people from coming in to enjoy a pint, costs such as rent, utilities and the cost of ingredients for beer haven’t gone away. His brewpub is still casing and selling to customers.
“We need to have beer when we open back up,” Williams said. “Especially coming out of a winter, because we’re fairly seasonal.”
Williams said the loans are only a “piece of the puzzle” to help businesses. He asks that Delawareans buy local, get takeout from their favorite restaurants when they don’t feel like cooking, and make sure to practice social distancing wherever you go.