TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Millions of jobs in Florida were saved by the Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic. The program closed to small business owners in the state on May 31, but it’s still having a lasting impact.
Michele Renee owns “The Studio” in Seminole Heights. Eight On Your Side first spoke to her over a year ago when the pandemic started, and her world was turned upside down.
“I don’t know how I would’ve lived. I would’ve sold everything and went back to Texas with my mother.”
Renee said the PPP loan saved her livelihood.
“It tied us over. It got people working it paid the bills. I mean it was a blessing.” It was a blessing Renee said she didn’t think she’d get when we spoke to her back in April of 2020. “I thought it was a joke. I was like there’s no way people are just going to give me money. I didn’t think I was going to get.”
Florida received more than $32 billion dollars from the PPP to distribute to businesses across the Sunshine State. This was the fourth highest amount granted.
“I know that I could’ve gotten another PPP loan, but I felt like I didn’t want to take too much. I was very grateful for the first PPP loan,” Renee said.
Renee said she finally looks forward to the future again.
“It feels very hopeful that things are moving back to normal. I feel happy and that there’s joy and life back here.”