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The uncertainty of a pandemic has left many small businesses in the Valley on edge and many are already feeling the impact.

“We’re going to lead into our first year, maybe not open,” Michael Limas, owner of La Ramblas at Market Square explained as he showed us around his business. For the last 10 months, Limas has run Las Ramblas – a bar located between East 11th Street and Washington in the Downtown district in Brownsville. His establishment is located in an area that’s normally bustling with people. However, with the social distancing recommendations, it’s not like that now. The bar is closing until the end of the month.

“Obviously, we depend on sales. With no sales coming in we still have a tremendous amount of expenses to keep the operation up and running,” added Limas. “We may be closed for another six weeks. We don’t want that to happen. at the end of the day, the health of the community and our staff is what’s paramount.” Just down the street is Main Street Deli, a restaurant that continues to operate as normal.

“We’re seeing less people on the street and even less coming here to eat,” said Hector Zavala, owner of the restaurant in Spanish as helped with orders from customers coming in. While many businesses may be facing similar challenges there are resources to help these businesses survive. “SBA disaster loans which are also very low interests loans. Which is provided to businesses to sustain themselves during these months,” explained Josh Mejia, executive director of the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation.

He says those loans can be for up to $2 million but that’s not the only aid available. There’s also disaster unemployment assistance and grant programs, among others.

For a complete list of the resources and more information visit www.assist.brownsvilleedc.org.

FULL VIDEO AND ARTICLE

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