Loans Offer Incentive To Keep Small Business Workers Employed
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Governor Gary Herbert called on small businesses to take action Tuesday and apply for the Paycheck Protection Program to keep workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Little less than a month ago is when we really started to feel it,” said Rob Scott, owner of Legends Boxing in Lehi. “I mean it’s frustrating. It’s boring. I’m a creator.”
Over the last several weeks, Scott and his partners have had to get creative, including launching virtual boxing classes to their members to keep at least some money flowing.
In the meantime, Scott had to lay off all but one of his coaches. The fitness gym is among a growing number of Utah businesses that had to temporarily close their doors.
But a new program is offering some much-needed help. President Donald Trump signed the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law in March as an immediate solution to prop up the economy.
The act includes the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program that gives small businesses access to loans as an incentive to keep their workforce employed. The program will be available retroactive from February 15, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through the end of June.
“The federal government is stepping up in an extraordinary way to help businesses to stay afloat, really navigate these troubled waters,” Herbert said during Tuesday’s briefing. “As long as businesses keep their employees on payroll and use the loan for operating expenses, the PPP loan will be forgiven.”
Herbert said small businesses include all businesses with fewer than 500 employees. He called them the “backbone of our economy,” accounting for 90% of Utah businesses.
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“This will provide the capital to businesses so they can pay their employees, pay their rent and pay their other operating expenses,” said Derek Miller, president of the Salt Lake Chamber.
“I think they’re being as proactive as they can be,” Scott said of state and federal government leaders. “I mean nobody likes this.”
Scott was among hundreds of thousands who have already applied for the loan, although he admitted it was a more complicated process than other loans he’s recently applied for.
“We looked at this and said, ‘how do we alleviate this problem? How do we actually get the applications processed more quickly?’” said Nate Gardner, chief customer officer at MX Technologies in Lehi. “How do we do it so we can help Americans back to work?”
The anticipated backlog of applications prompted MX to jump into the arena to help their bank and credit union clients to expedite processing all the loans. According to Gardner, MX’s new loan application portal helps reduce delays, so small businesses can get approved in seconds and funds can be distributed.
“Getting dollars into those businesses as quickly as possible is something we know that is incredibly important,” Gardner said. “This is just the right thing to do because it is a time and a space when a lot of people are hurting.”
Herbert called on all small businesses to talk to their lenders and begin the application process. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
More information can be found on the Utah Coronavirus Task Force’s website.
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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