Ashland Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Updates
March 19, 2020/
|Greetings from the Ashland Chamber and Travel Ashland, Information about COVID-19 and resources has been moving rapidly.|
Here is today’s latest update:
Today, Jackson and Josephine Counties have been named in the eligible disaster areas for SBA Disaster Loan Assistance. Though the Governor has yet to designate Oregon an official disaster area, our counties have been included in the California Disaster recognition by way of proximity. SBA Loans are now available to our counties. Here is the website to apply: disasterloan.sba.gov.
The Ashland Chamber had a phone call with Senator Jeff Merkley earlier today with a group of invited Chamber executives. Senator Merkley heard stories about the business impact from all over the state and shared the following: Federal legislation is looking at a 3 wave approach to COVID-19- Healthcare, Employees and Families and then stimulus package for businesses and individuals. Once those 3 go through, there will be more packages put together as they assess any missing components.
Conversations at the Federal level are happening around employment insurance, how can the government help cover wages to keep someone employed, how can they help with fixed costs, how can they help independent contractors and the self-employed. They are looking at payroll tax relief, loans, and grants.
The Ashland Chamber shared with him that while SBA loans are great and will help in part, that businesses need access to capital in the immediate and that taking out another loan, with interest, cannot be their only option. Senator Merkley assured us that he understood this point.
The Ashland Chamber was on a conference call with the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce for a state legislative overview
The Governor has two councils working on COVID-19: Governor’s Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council and the Joint Special Committee On Coronavirus Response. They are looking directly at delaying the tax deadline, CAT tax and expanding unemployment. They need to hear from small businesses. They are receiving a lot of information from labor unions about protecting workers, which is certainly important, but they need to have information specifically from individual businesses.
The Oregon State Chamber has created a portal for you to submit official testimony to the council. Please use this link to share your story. It is critical that Governor Brown and the joint council receive as many business impact statements as possible as it can impact our federal relief. https://www.votervoice.net/OSCC/campaigns/72706/respond.
Please submit your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org as well, so the Ashland Chamber can keep record of the impact specifically for Ashland which will help us as we navigate future opportunities.
Be looking for more updates tomorrow and please reach out with any follow-up questions.
Sincerely, The Ashland Chamber & Travel Ashland Staff