HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As more consumers heed official advice to avoid crowds and practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, area businesses are experiencing a sharp decline in revenue. In response, Towns County Emergency Management Agency (TCEMA) Director Brandon Walls announced Tuesday that funding relief may become available to lessen the burden on local businesses affected by the virus outbreak.
Walls acknowledged that Towns County relies heavily on tourism for revenue, and noted the hit that venues, such as the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, are taking as a result of postponed and canceled events.
While in the infant stage, Walls stated that the Small Business Administration (SBA), in cooperation with GEMA and TCEMA, is in the process of drafting an emergency financial declaration.
“Several of the local restaurants are already feeling a pretty good pinch,” Walls said. “I’ve saw some that are estimating in the $20,000 range of financial loss within the last couple weeks. That’s a big deal for those guys. That’s a lot of money/ SBA and the state and (TCEMA) are working on it. There’s no guarantee of when any of that will come down the pipe or what it will mean. The only thing I know that they’ve opened up is very low to no interest business loans…(and) they’re working for, in the future, some kind of grant or straight assistance dollars to go into those businesses.”
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
“The President took bold, decisive action to make our 30 million small businesses more resilient to Coronavirus-related economic disruptions,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty.”
In an effort to assist businesses in the community, owners are invited to email information on closures or changes in operations to FYN at [email protected] for publication.