Small businesses left in lurch while bigger companies get bulk of relief cash

Seventy-five companies that got money in the $349 billion relief package had market values greater than $100 million, yet nearly half the nation’s workforce works for small businesses.
2:03 | 04/21/20

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Transcript for Small businesses left in lurch while bigger companies get bulk of relief cash
Will, thank you. Now the small businesses in the country waiting for the news. Owners trying to save businesses and workers. Here's Steve osunsami. Reporter: Business owner Mary Moore in Atlanta says she's trying her hardest to keep 12 of her best people on the payroll. She's already had to lay off 43. They rely on this business for their livelihoods, and I rely on them. Reporter: She owns the cook's warehouse stores and is trying to make the best of sales online. She's applied for government loans but hasn't seen the final paperwork, and says the program is unfair to small businesses. Ones like hearse. It's really difficult as a small business person to hear how big corporations are getting grants and they're being given money. But I've got this great opportunity to create more debt for my business that I have to figure out how to pay for in the future. Reporter: An associated press investigation tonight speaks to this. Finding that of the $349 billion in relief meant for small businesses, at least 75 companies that were helped are so big that they're publicly traded, and some had market values greater than $100 million. Big chains like Ruth's Chris got money before the pot ran out last week. Shake shack, another big guy, gave $10 million back to the government after the outrage. As for that $384 billion in new help for small businesses? At Ben's chili bowl, a local institution in the nation's capital, they are still worried. When we reopen are we able to seat 50 or 60 or 70 people when you have to have some sort of social distancing, et cetera. So it impacts the entire business all the way around. Reporter: Nearly half the nation's work force gets a paycheck from small businesses like these. This time, the money meant for small businesses should be spent differently. $60 billion has been set aside to go directly to them. But there's general agreement that the money may still not be enough. Steve, thank you. The president also making news just moments ago after his

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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