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Coronavirus Impact: San Francisco's The Barrel Room 'Left Hung Out To Dry' With No Help From Federal Government

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Barrel Room in San Francisco's Financial District says it was on track to have its best year yet, until the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Now, it's owner Sarah Trubnick says if assistance from the government doesn't come through this month, she'll be forced to close its doors, after 9 successful years in business.

"I'm feeling like we are left hung out to dry," said Trubnick. "We employ 10 percent of the workforce as the restaurant industry here in San Francisco, we operated on slim margins."

Currently, The Barrel Room is only doing grocery and beverage delivery service with four remaining employees. At first, Trubnick was heartened by the promise of loans available through the Small Business Administration and Paycheck Protection Program.

"We did everything right with the applications and we get nothing, we just keep being told to wait," she added.

Trubnick isn't alone in her frustration. California small businesses have received fewer loans and less money per eligible small business than nearly any other state.

"We have no idea why there are regional differences," said CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger.

Fewer than two-fifths of eligible California businesses got pay check protection loans as of April 16, according to Bloomberg. Compare that to roughly four-fifths of eligible businesses in rural states like Kansas and Nebraska.

"California has been short changed in that respect. We're trying to understand exactly why," said Governor Gavin Newsom last month.

On Friday, Trubnick sent a letter to elected officials on every level, including Senator Kamala Harris.

Harris herself wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the SBA administrator, expressing great concern over the failure to provide help to California small businesses, and demanding answers.

"If large companies receive all the funding, we're going to lose all of our culture, and when people can go back to work, it's going to be a really bleak environment," said Trubnick.

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