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In the heart of Fall River, Sagres Vacations has been providing food, nature, and cultural tours to Portugal for over seven years.

"Travel is a happy business," he says. "People want to go on vacation, they want to enjoy it."

Marco Fernandes is the company’s vice president. He says the pandemic has caused clients to rebook their tour packages for later in the year. Some employees were furloughed. And contracts with suppliers have been renegotiated in order to cut costs.

Throughout all this, the company has only received a small grant from the city despite applying for federal disaster assistance, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Fernandes hopes the new $484 billion package, aimed at injecting more money to small businesses, will provide some much needed relief. 

"As a business who exclusively relies on normal travel conditions, our livelihood depends on income coming in," Fernandes said. "So obviously that [federal aid] is crucial to the operations of our business."

Fernandes said Sagres has enough money to cover next month's bills. But like other businesses across the region who haven’t received federal aid yet, he’s worried the money won’t come in soon enough, if at all.

"Small businesses are the heartbeat of this country," Fernandes said.

"If you don’t have small business you don’t have a large workforce working so that correlates back to the welfare of everybody in the city."

The new federal relief package will inject more funds into small businesses after funds from the last aid package, passed in March, quickly ran dry.

Relief funds will also be directed to hospitals and unemployment claims.