COVID-19 Update Letter: Federal Stimulus Pending, Available Business Resources, & How to Help

By March 23, 2020 March 24th, 2020 Chamber Insights, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Federal Stimulus Pending, Available Business Resources, & How to Help

A note from GMC CEO & President, Michael Skelton

 

3/23/2020

Dear Chamber members,

This unprecedented situation has forced us to adjust on the fly to new ways of doing business and carry on with daily life. While it is too early to know to what extent the important public health restrictions and guidelines put in place in recent weeks have “flattened the curve” of COVID-19, it is important we remain focused and each do our part to stop the spread. Please do your part to follow public health and social distancing recommendations and encourage your neighbors, families, and friends to do the same. The sooner our collective action has an impact, the sooner we can chart a course back to normalcy.

Some important updates to share with you as a new week begins:

Federal Stimulus Update
All eyes early this week will be on Congress and action on a potential multi trillion-dollar stimulus bill intended to stem the massive disruption the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy. I had the opportunity to speak with members of our Congressional Delegation and their staff last week. I am encouraged and grateful for their engagement with our business community and commitment to supporting an immediate federal stimulus package to ensure that the public health steps we are taking to slow this pandemic does not cripple our economy long term.

On a conference call with several dozen Chamber and business leaders, Senator Shaheen solicited direct input from those on the call about resources and policy solutions Congress should provide. Congressman Pappas’ office has also been in regular contact and given his business background, he is all too aware of how this situation has crippled our small business community. While the stimulus package has yet to be finalized and negotiations are ongoing, I believe any successful plan must include immediate, targeted relief to the small business community in the form of easy-to-access loans and financial resources. In our poll to members on this situation last week, 90% of respondents cited ‘lost revenue’ as a specific impact their business is feeling due to this situation. It is this pressure that has led to significant layoffs and potential business closures as owners attempt to forecast cashflow in an uncertain environment. As this situation develops, the Chamber will continue to engage with our federal delegation and advocate for solutions that will support our members.

Business Loans and Financing Tools
State leadership has also been highly engaged with the business community and collaborating with our federal delegation. Governor Sununu and Business and Economic Affairs (BEA) Commissioner Taylor Caswell arranged a call last week with Chamber CEOs from across the state to share the latest on the state’s efforts and answer our questions. This type of coordination and engagement will continue in the weeks ahead and will help ensure we are providing you with latest and most relevant information. Some key updates to share:

SBA Loans Now Available – On March 18th the SBA Administrator approved Governor Sununu’s request for a disaster declaration for NH, which allows small businesses to apply for economic injury disaster loans. Click here for more details.

Business Finance Authority (BFA) Programs – Business loan programs administered by the BFA include small-business loan guarantees, the Capital Access Program, the Guarantee Asset Program, and the Working Capital Line of Credit Guarantee.

State Business and Economic Affairs Resource Page – NH BEA has launched a helpful state-wide resources page on information and tools for businesses to utilize in response to the COVID-19 situation.

GMC Business Resource Page – the Chamber is also continuing to maintain a resource page for members that includes the latest information from federal, state, and local leaders and helpful business resources tools.

How to Help Your Community
As we try to lead our businesses and organizations through this challenging environment, our community’s commitment to helping one another has been inspiring. Below are some reminders and new ways you can help support the community:

Check out the Chamber’s blog on 5 Ways to Support the Small Business Community. Every takeout order or gift card purchase helps. Lots of small individual acts across a community adds up to a big impact.

Mayor Craig has launched an online portal for Manchester residents to volunteer to help respond to this situation.

Our hospitals, health care providers, and social service nonprofits already (or will soon) have a dire need for personal protective equipment (PPE). If your business is able to donate any of the following products (or the ability to produce them), please contact us so we can connect you to a health care partner in need.

  • Disposable face masks
  • N95 masks, sometimes called respirators
  • Eye protection, including face shields and safety goggles
  • Disposable gowns
  • Disposable gloves, especially non-latex
  • Disposable surgical caps
  • Disposable foot covers
  • Wipes: bleach or antimicrobial
  • Hand sanitizer

Thank you for your continued support of our community and do not hesitate to reach out if the Chamber can be of help in the days or weeks ahead.

Be safe and healthy!

Mike Skelton, President & CEO, GMC