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Spokane dental office concerned about funding for reopening

About 50 employees from Children's Choice Dentistry were sent home in March after orders from Washington state leaders required the office to temporarily close.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Owners of a Spokane dental office are concerned they won’t have enough funding to re-open once Washington’s stay-at-home order is lifted.

About 50 employees at Children’s Choice Dentistry were sent home in March after orders from Washington state leaders required the office to temporarily close.

“They told us they were going to need to save masks and protective equipment for the hospital workers and healthcare staff,” said Charlie Toillion, the business’ co-owner.

In early April, Congress allocated $350 billion to loan to small businesses around the U.S.

The Small Business Administration has since exhausted that funding, which was part of the $2 trillion CARES act. 

Thousands of small business owners whose loans have not yet been processed must now wait for Congress to approve a Trump administration request for another $250 billion for the program.

For the loan to be forgiven, a business must use 75% of the funding for payroll expenses over an eight-week period. That includes re-hiring employees.

Toillion said he was prepared to apply for the loan. But he reconsidered since re-hiring any employees would leave them without work.

“There’s no dental care to deliver at this point because we’re not even open,” he said.

Toillion said he doesn’t expect to open the office again until May 18.

“Paying employees before then just wouldn’t make sense. By the time we get to where we’re opening up, we’ve exhausted all of our capital or cash reserves,” he said.

He said he’s hoping Congress will approve additional funding that businesses like his can use closer to when the stay-at-home order is lifted.

“We could really benefit from those dollars when we do decide that we’re going to go back to work,” he said.

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