CHICAGO (WLS) – A discussion Monday in Washington on extending the eight weeks small businesses have to use their P3s loans caught the attention of local restaurateurs.

Build Coffee is tucked away in a building on 61st and Blackstone in Woodlawn, not far from the University of Chicago. Currently closed, it can now only accommodate one.

“I hate being in this room when it’s empty,” said Hanna Nyhart, co-founder of Build Coffee. “It hurts. It’s sad.”

Nyhart was thrilled to get a payroll protection program loan in the first round, but now finds herself with lingering anxieties.

“I felt lucky, but now I’m mostly scared,” she said.

With her employees unemployed and the inability to feel safe working in a nearby environment, Nyhart said she felt crippled over how best to spend the loan money. She hasn’t spent it on her payroll and is halfway through eight weeks to use it or duty it to the federal government.

“Our PPP loan was less than $ 25,000 which is huge for us and it would be a game changer if we could spend it when we reopen,” she said.

The United States Small Business Administration has published some tips for canceling PPP loans late Friday, requiring the loan to be used primarily for payroll within eight weeks of obtaining the funds.

President Trump met with restaurant executives on Monday, and while there have been discussions about the need to extend the eight weeks, no changes have yet been made.

“The road back will be tough for us and for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Woodlawn or the Loop,” Nyhart said. “For any of you to have a chance to come back, we will need this support in two months.”

Nyhart hopes the calls for more time will be followed by action. In the meantime, she will strategize with her employees on how they could safely reopen and stay in companies.

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