Runestad: Financial relief available to businesses

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad said Tuesday he wants to make sure all business owners in Oakland County are aware of efforts to help mitigate the coronavirus crisis.

“There is help out there for businesses that are suffering during this difficult time,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved up to $20 million in support for small business owners.

“In addition, the Michigan Small Business Relief Program has $410 million in grants to award and another $10 million in low-interest loans to offer. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation expects 1,100 businesses will be eligible for these two economic relief programs.”

Runestad said grant funding will be up to $10,000 to each small business (50 employees or fewer) that has demonstrated financial hardship from the COVID-19 virus. Loans are available between $50,000 and $200,000 to qualified small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) that have been financially harmed by Executive Order 2020-9 and cannot access credit from other financial entities.

Runestad also relayed the following information:
• Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan small businesses and nonprofits will have access to the $1 billion that Congress has provided to the Small Business Administration for economic injury disaster loans. Firms can look here for more information: https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/ and formally apply at this website: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
• Federal Income Tax Day has been delayed three months to July 15. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to file on time if they have refunds expected.
• Restaurant owners across the country have declared March 24 as “The Great American Takeout” and encourage patrons to get takeout once today for either breakfast, lunch or dinner.

“In addition, businesses should be sure to check with their industry’s trade association to help answer more detailed questions surrounding relief for and their response to the coronavirus,” Runestad said. “An important consideration is whether their operations are deemed essential or not to sustain or protect life to comply with Executive Order 2020-21, the governor’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order issued Monday.”

Runestad said businesses that remain open for in-person work must take the following aggressive steps to minimize the virus’s spread:
• Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible;
• Restrict the number of workers present in-person on the job;
• Keep employees at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible and enable social distancing for customers who are standing in line; and
• Employ any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Runestad thanked the many Michigan businesses that have stepped up efforts to provide relief at this time.

“I want to issue my sincere appreciation for the Big Three parts suppliers that are shifting production to build ventilators for our over-strapped hospitals, for Michigan’s home-based breweries and distilleries that are producing hand sanitizers, and for all the other businesses that have donated personal protective equipment to our medical staff and other first responders,” Runestad said.

“We will keep you informed on all developments surrounding COVID-19 and the necessary individual and business responses.”