Photo: Axios Events.

Small businesses face a daunting shift from storefront to online to adapt to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Paycheck Protection Program and government outreach could help, California Lt. Gov. Elani Kounalakis said at an Axios virtual event on Thursday.

What she's saying: Small businesses, including those owned by people of color, often lack the resources that larger companies do to shift to digital operations.

  • "In California we’ve had about 5.2 million people go on unemployment who weren’t there before. PPP can help small biz keep their employees in jobs," Kounalakis said.

But the PPP extension and government outreach to small business owners could help, the lieutenant governor said. Kounalakis also said California's government is working to partner big businesses with smaller companies to help guide them through the transition towards digital.

  • "Big banks went to their customers to encourage them to apply for PPP, but small businesses that use small banks didn't have that boost. "[A] lot of small businesses really had trouble accessing that," Kounalakis said.
  • "Many small businesses, particularly if they’re in communities of color, they don’t know we’re here. They don’t know where to find us. And so a big part of what we’re trying to do now around California is really get the word out."

Go deeper

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.

Why the employee retention credit is an overlooked stimulus issue

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

D.C. remains deadlocked on the next stimulus package, days after extended unemployment benefits ended and days before PPP is set to expire.

Where it stands: One unresolved issue that hasn't gotten enough attention is a proposed expansion of the employee retention credit, which could have a significant impact for companies that have experienced severe revenue declines.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 19,952,057 — Total deaths: 732,689 — Total recoveries — 12,150,698Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,074,059 — Total deaths: 163,275 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: House will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hellAt least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."