The first half of 2020 has been a time that none of us expected with coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting so much in our daily lives. As of the writing of this article, we are in Phase 1 of Missouri’s recovery plan, Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, through Monday, June 15. The guiding principles to the recovery plan are expanding testing, expanding person protective equipment (PPE) supplies, continued monitoring of our hospitals, and the ability to predict potential outbreaks using our public health data. In this phase most all businesses are open, some with requirements for by appointment only or with limited number of people allowed in at a time. All of us need to observe social distancing by maintaining a six-foot distance from others and practice good hygiene with frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizer. Unfortunately, we cannot visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances. I think we all agree that this is not always easy to remember and sometimes inconvenient and definitely difficult to not be able to visit loved ones, however if we stay vigilant, we can continue to slow this virus and hopefully stop it.
We have created a COVID-19 Resource page on our website, www.maconcounty.org, with several links to information, programs, and agencies that we feel might be helpful. So, I encourage you to visit our website and reach out to us for any assistance you may need. In the mean time here is some data and brief program information.
The current unemployment rate is at 9.7% in Missouri up from 3.9% in March 2020, 14.7% nationally, and 6.2% in Macon County. The Missouri Department of Labor Division, Employment Security announced that Missouri will begin offering the extended benefits (EB) program for those who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits.
As of May 10, 2020, total spending by all consumers decreased by 10.3% compared to January 2020 in Missouri. At our lowest point on March 20 we had reached right around 35% decrease in total spending in Missouri.
Here is a brief outline of a few of the programs available to assist businesses:
Paycheck Protection Program – An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. A percent of the loan, currently 75%, will be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. There is legislation proposed to expand the program; it is currently being reviewed by the Senate.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance: An SBA loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. Those that apply for a loan can also apply for an advance of up to $10,000. At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received.
Macon County Landfill Fee Loan Program: A loan program through the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Macon and administered through Macon County Economic Development is a loan program to assist businesses located within Macon County.
Again, please visit our website at www.maconcounty.org or contact our office at 660-385-5627 for more information and assistance with any of the information and programs available. We are here to help and remember this is temporary and we will get through this together.
Best wishes for good health ~ Sue Goulder, Director, Macon County Economic Development