Senator Mitt Romney sat for a webinar with members of the business community on Monday March 30th. After offering condolences to the small businesses and individuals who are feeling the financial effects of the Covid-19 virus, the Senator went on to outline what is in the package that has been crafted to help.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans, or EIDL, of $2 million maximum for bigger businesses are available if they can show substantial harm due to lost business as a result of actions taken to slow the Covid virus.. For the local businesses maybe not looking for debt but just a little help through the troubles, Romney had another option.
This one is labeled the Emergency EIDL and under this loan would be the Personal Paycheck Program (PPP) The PPP would apply to businesses under 500 employees. The loan value is based on the average annual payroll of the small business multiplied by 2.5. The sum of that equation is what the small business would be eligible for to pay qualified expenses. Qualified expenses are: Payroll, rent, mortgage and utilities or other fixed costs. And $10,000.00 of the EIDL loans can convert to a grant.
At this point of the webinar those from San Juan County communities made their questions known to the panel. Laci Shumway and Diana Davidson will have to wait for an answer and clarification to their questions. Shumway, Chamber President for the Moab Chamber of Commerce asked whether a new business with no track record or history of last year's payroll would qualify. Davidson, owner of Cottonwood Steakhouse in Bluff, wanted clarification on whether or not taking the PPP money would lower the amount of EIDL money a business would qualify for.
Senator Romney’s Utah Affairs Director Adam Gardiner asked for an email from Shumway to help determine a course of action and for Davidson it’s wait and see until Friday when the details of the entire loan administration is hoped to be worked out. At this point the Small Business Administration is spearheading the effort through SBA banks in the communities affected.
Gardiner also fielded a question about a small mom and pop business with a less than perfect credit history having to qualify for a bank loan. His answer indicates the process would be streamlined and those with poor credit should be able to get help.
Other relief touted by Senator Romney and were increased unemployment benefits. $600 per week has been added to whatever those laid off might already qualify for through Utah Workforce Services Unemployment Insurance.
Meanwhile Senator Romney on the video link addressed a “phase 4” of the support package, what happens long term to those who can’t change or adapt. He did not seem hopeful that the lawmakers in Washington would be able to come to any sort of agreement on a “phase 4” citing a dysfunctional congress.
The Senator then offered up some advice for those running businesses. This from his own experience when a company he was running was having tough times. Prioritize and communicate he suggested. Is there a bill more important than another? Can you ask for a little time from one of your vendors and who might best be able to absorb the loss temporarily?
But he also suggests that you reverse the equation, ask the same of yourself. Is there a business that owes you money you might be able to forego payment from for a bit or forgive the debt all together? The action will probably garner you a lifelong ally according to the Senator, it’s part of the pioneer spirit of helping one another the state of Utah was founded on.
Senator Romney also suggested that it might be time for Utah businesses to start thinking of life after Covid-19. How can you adjust your business to survive in such an environment? More clarification is coming on the relief package and how it will play out in our area.
For more information on funding for San Juan County businesses click here
For more information on the entire package for businesses in Utah go to https://www.romney.senate.gov/smallbizhelp
To view Senator Romney’s webinar in its entirety click here.
For those who have more questions Adam Gardiner of Senator Romney’s office offers up his email. [email protected].