Business owners in Dickinson may receive more than federal loans to stay afloat during coronavirus pandemic

DICKINSON, Texas (KTRK) -- Business owners in Dickinson are receiving more than federal loans to help them stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

There are "for lease" and "closed" signs that show the coronavirus impact in the city. Kristal White and her husband, James, are part of the business struggle.

"It was really going in the right direction," Kristal said.

Their bar, Penny's Beer Garden, closed two months ago. Although they're able to do drive-thru alcohol sales, it's still not enough.

"Since March, we've lost basically 75 percent of our income," James said.

They're not closing for good, though, after receiving a $7,200 grant from Dickinson.

"It was shocking," James said. "I was very thankful they were considering supporting the local businesses."

Even more help could be coming to the city.

On Tuesday, council considered doubling the program's funds to $400,000. City council member, Sean Skipworth, said the city would use money from the shelved public market program to give small business owners a boost.

"Nobody can see the future as to where we'll be later in the summer," Skipworth said. "I certainly hope the stars align, and the virus is more under control, and that we have financially supported these businesses the best we can as a city to keep them open."

Fifty-five qualified applicants applied before the application process ended.

If Tuesday's measure passes, each will receive $7,200 from the city. In addition to the grant, owners are allowed to receive money from the federal government, which is still available.

During the second round of paycheck payment program funds, small businesses have received more than $190 billion. There is still $120 billion available. If you're interested, there are 1,300 lenders in Texas. Some banks, including Frost Bank are making it easier by working with local small business leaders to help people get access to money.

Funds are also starting to arrive in Harris County. Six hundred thousand dollars of the $10 million dollar forgivable loan program have been distributed.

The county isn't taking new applications, but it could consider adding funds this summer. The Whites know how much these kinds of programs mean.

"For us, it was a way for us to pay the bills," James said. "A way to pay our employees and allow us to retain them."

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