Schumer Pushes For More Small Business Help


ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stood with operators of small businesses and Geva Theatre Wednesday calling for more help for those businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), speaking at a news conference at Union Tavern in Irondequoit on Wednesday. CREDIT RANDY GORBMAN / WXXI NEWS

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said that Congress has already passed a five-week, short-term extension for the original Paycheck Protection Program. Now, he is proposing legislation that would extend the loan program to the end of the year and provide the option for a second loan for eligible small businesses, the so-called, Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program Act or P4.

“The money is there, we just have to change the law to let folks like this get a second round and we will have many, many more small businesses surviving and even prospering in the next six months.” Schumer said the proposal would see the next phase of that assistance continue into next year.

At Geva Theatre Center, Artistic Director Mark Cuddy noted that they have been closed since March, and they need additional assistance to keep operating.

“We have had zero ticket revenue for almost four months, and will not (have revenue) for the next 4 to 6 months, optimistically, until it is safe to welcome audiences and performers again. Even when the time comes for reopening we will be reducing capacity to perhaps 35 to 40 percent of seats,” Cuddy said.

Schumer held his news conference at the Union Tavern Restaurant in Irondequoit, which is also looking for assistance. The senator says the next phase of the program is gearing toward businesses with fewer than 100 employees, which Schumer says is 98 percent of the businesses in the Rochester Finger Lakes area.