Rescue plan aims to helps Delaware businesses stay alive

By Mike Finney
Posted 3/31/21

DOVER — Survival has been the name of the game when it comes to business owners and the challenges they have faced over the past year while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delaware’s …

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Rescue plan aims to helps Delaware businesses stay alive


DOVER — Survival has been the name of the game when it comes to business owners and the challenges they have faced over the past year while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delaware’s congressional delegation joined the Small Business Administration and local chambers of commerce for a virtual event on Wednesday that highlighted available and expanded federal resources from a pool of $1.3 billion for Delaware’s small businesses through the American Rescue Plan Act, the pandemic relief bill signed into law earlier this month, and other federal legislation.

U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chris Coons, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee (both D-Del.), voted on March 25 for the passage of the bipartisan PPP Extension Act of 2021, a measure aimed to support Delaware small businesses by extending the end-date of the Paycheck Protection Program from March 31, 2021, to June 30, 2021.

“The American Rescue Plan is what our state and our country need most at this moment and throughout the pandemic through last year, and this year, small business owners and Delaware have been working to preserve jobs in our community,” Sen. Coons said, on Wednesday’s Zoom meeting. “The American Rescue Plan delivers emergency grants and more lending, more investment, particularly in our small businesses and nonprofits that will help them to both retain and to hire folks.

“It puts the full force of the federal government behind ending the pandemic and helping our state recover … and there will also be some important state and local programs that will add to what’s being done through the SBA.”

The senators joined U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-Del.) and Small Business Administration District Director John Fleming in helping chamber members throughout the state understand how businesses can apply for financial assistance.

“I wanted to say to our small businesses and to our businesses in general, health is here and you have borne the brunt of so much of this pandemic and of this challenging year. But we want you to know you will hear about some resources today that will hopefully help you as we transition,” Rep. Blunt-Rochester said.

“My themes this year are – recovered, rebuild and restore – and that’s what this is really about and so we hope that you will be able to get some good information and some good takeaways on everything from the expanded PPP to the disaster loans, to how we’re helping the smallest of small businesses and our restaurants.”

Mr. Fleming pointed out that under the American Rescue Plan, borrowers have until May 31 to submit PPP applications to participating lenders, and the SBA can continue processing loan applications submitted on or before this date until June 30. Business owners can apply for the assistance here.

The American Rescue Plan added $7.25 billion to the PPP and expanded the program’s eligibility to help small nonprofits and local digital news outlets. The bill also created a $29 billion fund dedicated towards helping restaurants and added $15 billion to the SBA’s Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance program to provide relief for particularly hard-hit small businesses in low-income communities.

“For the past year, small business owners across Delaware and the country have been fighting to preserve jobs in their communities,” said Sen. Coons. “Since Congress renewed the program in December, the Paycheck Protection Program has given Main Street a critical lifeline, providing more than 6,600 loans totaling more than $540 million to small businesses in Delaware, but many still need help to get through the next phase of recovery.

“I’m pleased that the Senate came together to ensure that the PPP program remains active and small businesses can keep their doors open and their employees on payroll.”

Sen. Carper said the year-old pandemic is a time when government needs to be there as a source of security for citizens from the government.

“Abraham Lincoln was once asked rhetorically, ‘What is the role of government?’ and he said ‘The role of government is to do for the people what they cannot do for themselves,’” Sen. Carper said. “Fortunately, we don’t have pandemics every year.

“We’ve had to race to try to catch up and to be able to wait to shop and to help our businesses to survive and get kids back in school and so forth.”

Mr. Fleming said the SBA has hired close to 5,000 extra temporary workers to get the financial assistance allocated.

“You know, as you got the history on PPP rolling out, it’s just been an amazing ride to try to help small business people and just to give you some of the numbers that we were going through and how much we had to change,” he said.

He said, on average, SBA will do perhaps 150,000 to 200,000 loans per year – including disaster loans – and this year his office took in 14 million idle applications, as well as another 6 million in PPP loans.

Now, as he told the chamber of commerce members on Wednesday, the SBA is prepared to offer more assistance to small businesses, because, after all, it’s all about survival.


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