Strip clubs entitled to coronavirus stimulus money: Judge

'Simply put, Congress did not pick winners and losers in the PPP,' judge wrote

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Strip clubs that have taken a financial hit as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic are eligible to receive stimulus relief money meant for small businesses, a judge reportedly ruled.

The government’s Small Business Administration must include strip clubs, which offer products and “present live performances of a prurient sexual nature,” as being entitled to Paycheck Protection Program loans, a federal court judge in Michigan ruled Monday, according to the New York Post and The Seattle Times.

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“Simply put, Congress did not pick winners and losers in the PPP,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman wrote in his order.

Exotic dancer Elle Stanger wears personal protective equipment while performing in a drive-through go-go dance tent at the Lucky Devil Lounge strip club in Portland, Oregon, April 24, 2020. (REUTERS/Terray Sylvester)

The preliminary injunction also prohibited political lobbying firms, banks and certain private clubs from being excluded, according to the Post.

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“It would ordinarily be absurd to conclude that Congress meant to provide financial assistance to, among others, certain sexually oriented businesses and private clubs that discriminate,” Leitman argued, according to the Post. “But these are no ordinary times, and the PPP is no ordinary legislation.”

The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to cover payrolls and other expenses for eight weeks while stay-at-home orders prevent normal business operations, but certain businesses – such as a strip clubs – were not included as eligible, which didn’t present itself as a problem until recently.

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“Nobody cared,” Lansing, Michigan-based attorney Bradley Shafer previously told the Times. Shafer represents dozens of strip clubs and similar businesses in a related lawsuit regarding the SBA’s exclusion of these companies. “They were making money. They didn’t need SBA loans. Now, it’s a totally different world. These are dire times.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.