COLORADO SPRINGS — The latest round of COVID-19 relief is on its way to small businesses in Colorado. As owners and employees work to rebound during the pandemic, not all businesses are eligible to apply for funding.
Industries eligible for the state funding include restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms. Hair salons are among the dozens of industries that are not eligible.
Rep. Shane Sandridge represents El Paso County and he sponsored the relief bill, a $37 million package to help small business which suffered the most loss and were shut down for a period of time.
"It never had the purpose to focus on everybody in need. It focused on the industries that are most in need, with 90% to 100% closure," said Sandridge, who mentioned the state budget took a $4 billion hit last year because of COVID-19. "If you don't have enough money, you pick the ones who are in need the most."
Rep. Sandridge said it's a small boost for local business and "it's giving them a lifeline until larger, federal aid comes in, or restrictions are eased."
However a local salon owner told News5 her concerns about some businesses being left behind.
"It's definitely disappointing because I feel like hair stylists are pretty important to communities," said Erin Wyrick, who owns Wildflower Salon in downtown Colorado Springs. The salon closed for a month and a half last year during the pandemic.
"It was a big loss. I did lose 100% of our income. At that time, I had four girls booth-renting from me, and all five of us lost everything," said Wyrick, who also mentioned business has been picking back up since COVID-19 restrictions recently eased.
"We're doing as much as we can. A lot of the times we are pretty busy with clients, so that just is so relieving," said Wyrick.
The bill will provide up to $7,000 to small businesses. A business who received less than $2.5 million in revenue in 2019 can apply for funding.
As of Thursday afternoon, lawmakers are also making minor changes to the bill. That includes giving local governments more time to disperse the funds to local businesses.