WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michael Shemtov is struggling to keep his small cafe in Charleston, South Carolina, afloat. He has already shuttered nine of his restaurants in that state and Tennessee amid the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, with a total of 300 staff now out of work through no fault of their own. For Shemtov, who is now down to a skeleton crew of 10 employees at The Daily and is struggling to hold on, getting a loan from the federal government’s new $350 billion government-backed, low-interest loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), means the difference between life and death for his business, a sentiment echoed by scores of small businesses across the country whose owners spoke with ABC News. So far, the program’s rapid rollout has been plagued by problems, leaving cash-strapped small businesses in the lurch. And the industry estimates that half of small businesses could be out of business in two months and another third in three to six months, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). “I got an email from one bank saying that there’s 42,000 people who have signed up to be notified when those applications will be


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