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Live Mic: Lifeline for Utah small businesses trying to stay afloat during pandemic

103.5 The Arrow's Jon Smith shared this photo of the mostly-empty toilet paper aisle at Target in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah small businesses are eligible to receive assistance during the pandemic after President Trump signed the CARES Act, allotting $2.2 trillion in aid for the American people.

Miles Hansen, President & CEO of World Trade Center Utah, joined Lee Lonsberry on his show, Live Mic, to explain how Utah small businesses can take advantage of federal money to bounce back from the effects of COVID-19.

How loans to Utah small businesses will work

“Tell us about this CARES Act, specifically how it’s relevant to Utah,” Lee said.

“What this package is designed to do,” Hansen said, “is over the next eight weeks or so as we pause many aspects of our economy …. provide cash and liquidity to as many businesses and families as possible to help make it easier [so] that when we come out of this thing, people are able to jump back into work, and in the meantime, keep paying the rent, utilities and payroll as much as possible.”

Hansen said the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) is built around five different pillars:

  1. Health care: “$340 billion for hospitals, health care providers, suppliers and public health officials,” he said.
  2. Individuals and families: American taxpayers earning up to $75,000 will receive $1,200. Couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. Every child in single- and two-parent households earning less than $198,000 will also receive a $500 payment. That feature is included in the expansion of unemployment insurance.
  3. Tax code: “This will provide a surge of liquidity and cash for companies,” Hansen said.
  4. States and industries: $500 billion for state and local governments and companies, of which “Utah should expect to see about 1.5 billion,” he said;
  5. Workers: $350 billion in loans and assistance for small businesses — much of that will go to businesses to pay workers, mortgage interest and rent.

Payroll protection for Utah small businesses

“Where do [businesses] find information if they are facing payroll and the various expenses? What ought to be their first step to engage the benefits made available in this package?” Lee asked.

Hansen said there are two types of loans for small businesses.

The first is the payroll protection loan, which allows small businesses with fewer than 500 employees to borrow 2.5 times their average monthly payroll cost.

“If they use the loan for what it’s designed to do, which is to cover payroll, pay your rent, cover other fixed costs,” Hansen said, “for the first eight weeks, from when you take out the loan, that would be entirely forgiven.”

Disaster loans for Utah small businesses

Hansen said the other loan program is the Emergency Disaster Loan, which is being expanded. As soon as a company applies for the loan, it is immediately given a $10,000 up-front payment on the loan, he said.

“Companies can keep that advance even if they end up not being accepted for the loan or not taking the loan,” Hansen said.

The intent behind the advance is to inject cash as quickly as possible into small businesses to jump-start the local economy.

Small businesses in Utah should find out if their lender is SBA approved. If so, Hansen said, reach out to your bank right now as these programs are likely to open up Friday.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

State of Utah

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line 18004567707

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.