Senate Passes Third Stimulus Package to Help Unemployed, Small Businesses Affected by Coronavirus; House to Vote on Bill on Friday

Coronavirus stimulus
(Photo by Doug Armand / Getty Images.) The U.S. Senate's newly passed stimulus package includes a provision for $350 billion in loans to small businesses which might be beneficial to small health club operators and studio owners with less than 500 employees.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed on March 25 a third stimulus package, this one for $2.2 trillion, in response to the coronavirus crisis. The House is expected to vote on the package on March 27. The president is expected to then sign it.

IHRSA, a trade association for commercial club operators, had lobbied Congress to include health clubs and fitness industry suppliers in the package. As of late March 25, IHRSA was reviewing the package to see “how health clubs can get the most out of it,” according to an IHRSA spokesperson.

According to analysis by CNN, the package includes the following:

  • $500 billion in government loans to distressed companies
  • $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses
  • $250 billion in direct payments to Americans
  • $250 billion in unemployment benefits
  • $150 billion to state and local governments
  • $130 billion to hospitals

For small health club operators and studio owners with less than 500 employees, the provision for $350 billion in loans to small businesses might be the most beneficial part of the package. As part of the package, the Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee up to $10 billion for small business loans to help small business operators pay off debts and continue to pay employees. The bill also allows business owners to defer payroll tax payments for two years, according to the Washington Post.

Although the loans are guaranteed by the SBA, the actual lender would be banks and lenders approved by the government so that the money can be dispersed more quickly, according to CNN.

The package extends unemployment to four months and gives workers an extra $600 per week in addition to the $200 to $550 per week they get from state benefits. It also extends unemployment benefits to self-employed or “gig” workers. The bill would give an additional 13 weeks of unemployment, according to the New York Times.

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