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A small gelato business confronts big questions

A bowl of gelato.

Courtesy of Uli Nasibova

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Yesterday, the Senate passed a new bipartisan stimulus package that allocates over $300 billion for small business aid. For many businesses, the money can’t come soon enough. The $349 billion allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program in the last stimulus package ran out in weeks. Many small businesses didn’t apply in time, and many that did are in limbo as they wait for the money to arrive. As funds get tighter, many of these businesses are forced to confront big existential questions.

Uli Nasibova is the owner of Gelateria Uli, which has two locations in downtown Los Angeles. She’s got a lot on her mind as she faces the daily challenges of the pandemic and looks down the uncertain road ahead. Her stores are open for pickup and delivery, but she struggles to find the balance between protecting employees and protecting jobs.

“My job, as I see it, is to say ‘I’m giving you the hours regardless of business being able to bring in the revenue or not, because of GoFundMe/ government assistance,'” Nasibova said. “So what do I do when people say, ‘I don’t want to get my family member sick. It is irresponsible of me to go into work right now.’ I can’t force people work. And I’m not going to.”

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

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