SBA hits loan caps as Congress stalls on more funding
Additional required protective measures announced in northeast Iowa
Unemployment rate increases to 3.7 percent in March
New report reveals wind energy a powerful force in Iowa
• Latest coronavirus updates, 4/17/20
• Corridor events, KCRG-TV9 headlines and First Alert Forecast
SBA hits loan caps as Congress stalls on more funding
Businesses that haven’t already applied for loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program or the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for COVID-19-related assistance may be in for a long wait, as the SBA said on Wednesday it has reached its guarantee limit for both programs and would no longer be accepting applications.
Congress included $349 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in late March. That program was designed to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic by providing forgivable loans for payroll and certain operational expenses. The SBA’s EIDL program, meanwhile, offers low-interest loans and emergency grants of as much as $10,000.
The PPP got off to a rocky start on April 3, with technology issues, unclear guidance and overwhelming demand slowing the processing of loans. Iowa banks, which make up 95% of the state’s SBA lenders, were able to approve nearly $3.75 billion in loans through the PPP by April 13, for more than 22,000 small businesses in the state. The Iowa Bankers Association noted the average loan was worth $168,154.
As of Thursday, the SBA reported that it has received more than 1.6 million applications for PPP loans.
“The SBA has processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a joint statement released Wednesday. “The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible. We want every eligible small business to participate and get the resources they need.”
“We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program – a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program – at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.”
Congressional leaders, meanwhile, have stalled over negotiations on an additional $250 billion for the PPP . Republicans want to approve the $250 billion for small business loans before other aid and stimulus proposals, while Democrats are seeking to include money for hospitals and state and local governments in any new package, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to information published by the Cedar Rapids-based Entrepreneurial Development Center, businesses that have applied for PPP funds and have received SBA loan numbers will remain in the queue for funding. Those businesses that have not received SBA loan numbers will need to wait until additional funds are appropriated by Congress.
Additional protective measures announced for NE Iowa
Benton, Jones and Linn counties are included in a new proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds adding additional required protective measures in Regional Medical Coordination Center 6, which also includes Allamakee, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Howard and Winneshiek counties.

Effective now through April 30, all social, community, recreational, sporting, or leisure gatherings in Region 6 will be prohibited, and residents may only gather with members of their immediate household. Limited exceptions will be made for religious gatherings, weddings, funerals and individuals caring for family members outside their immediate household, although those will still be restricted to 10 people or less.

The proclamation also requires people to remain six feet away from people outside their household whenever possible, and for employers to take reasonable precautions to protect the health of employees and the public at any in-person operations.

The proclamation is due in part to long-term care facility outbreaks, the severity of illness/rate of hospitalization, and an increase in virus activity in the northeast region of the state, according to the governor's office. Read the full proclamation here .
Unemployment rate ticks up in preview of COVID damage
Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.7% in March, while the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 4.4% in March.

“The unemployment rate in March only reflects the very beginning of the impact of the substantial increase in unemployment claims we have seen since March 16, however the more reflective month will be April,” Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend stated in a press release. 

The number of unemployed Iowans jumped to 63,500 in March from 49,300 in February. The current estimate is 16,700 higher than the year-ago level of 46,800. The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,665,300 in March. This figure was 38,100 less than February and 12,300 lower than one year ago. 
New report reveals wind energy a powerful force in Iowa
A new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reveals that wind now accounts for 42% of the state's electricity generation, making the state number one in the nation for the share of total energy generation coming from wind.

Iowa now generates 10,201 megawatts of wind energy, enough to power more than 2.4 million homes.

Members of Power Up Iowa, a statewide coalition of renewable energy supporters advocating for increased investments in wind energy, reacted to the report by citing the benefits felt at the local level that are critical in today’s environment.

“Where wind energy is harnessed, economic progress follows. For our most rural towns, wind is powering more of the economy every day,” Bill Anderson, executive director of the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation, stated in a press release. “In times of uncertainty, wind is the valuable resource that communities rely on for sustainable energy and long-term revenue.”

Wind projects grew by nearly $3 billion last year to reach a total of $19 billion in private investment, and Iowa remains a national leader in both jobs created within the wind industry and in manufacturing facilities in the wind energy supply chain. Wind energy generated $61 million in annual state and local tax revenue that supports communities, and more than doubled its land lease payments across the state to $69 million annually, providing a stable source of income for Iowa farmers.
Latest coronavirus updates, 4/17/20
Ed. note: The CBJ is working hard to keep you up to date on the latest coronavirus news. We’re publishing a short roundup each day of notable cancellations, closures, changes and more. Send your tips and releases to to help us stay up to date. See our ongoing thread with collected updates he re .

The Iowa Department of Public Health has reported 2,332 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the state, including 724 in the Corridor. As of April 16, there have been 21,792 tests in the state. Sixty-four people have died. Regularly updated information from the IDPH can be found here .

The city of Cedar Rapids has announced that Gardner Golf Course and disc golf courses within Cedar Rapids parks will be closed through April 30, due to the Public Health Emergency Proclamation for Linn County issued by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Parks, trails and dog parks will remain open. 
The Iowa Insurance Institute (III) has donated $10,000 to the Food Bank of Iowa on behalf of its member companies to help Iowans impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown. III said it hopes to help alleviate the high demand for food and supplies that local food banks and pantries provide, adding that with thousands of Iowans suddenly without jobs, it’s more important than ever to donate to a local food bank.
Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa has released a free resource for teens titled “Making Sense: Understanding the Financial Impact of COVID-19.” The guide is designed to answer teens’ questions about the economic implications of COVID-19, including “Why are some store shelves empty?”, “Why are some people losing their jobs?” and “Are we going into a recession, or even a depression?” The guide is available at .
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Short Term Event Planner
April 17
Clarity for Businesses on Guidance from IDPH , by Linn County Public Health, 1:30 p.m., online. LCPH will host a webinar on new guidance for businesses from the Iowa Department of Public Health. This webinar is intended for occupational health, HR and safety personnel. To join, visit . You can also dial in, (571) 317-3122, Access Code: 725-955-965.

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses , by ProCircular, 2 p.m., online. CEO Aaron Warner will discuss how to keep your business' information safe while your team is working remotely. Free. To register, visit .

April 20
Virtual Lunch Connections, by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, noon-1 p.m., online. Join the group for a zoom lunch meeting to connect with other professionals in the ICR Corridor. Free. To join, visit .

April 21
Washington Business Hangout , by Washington Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Washington, 2 p.m., online. Washington Chamber members are invited to a Google Hangout to address ways to proactively promote community businesses. Hangouts will be held each Tuesday and Thursday. Free. To join, visit or dial in to (219) 401-0636 (PIN 264113127#).

Staying Motivated While Working from Home, by Mount Mercy University, 10 a.m., online. Pick up a few tips and tricks that will help you transition to work-home life. Free. To register, visit .
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Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9  
The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling center is opening to rural Johnson County residents beginning April 20. This is due to there being limited waste removal options for those in rural Johnson County. Residents may bring recycling and bagged household trash only and will need to provide ID. No yard waste or bulky items like mattresses, furniture, electronics or appliances will be accepted. Business hours run from 7 a.m.-4:40 p.m. Monday through Friday. The landfill is temporarily closed to all customers on Saturdays due to the pandemic. Curbside services or dumpsters should continue to be used by residents with access to them. To verify whether they are in the database for the Johnson County Rural Cleanup Program, residents can call the Johnson County Board of Supervisors at (319) 356-6000. For more information contact Resource Management Superintendent Jennifer Jordan at (319) 887-6160 or .

These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
The sky turns partly cloudy for the afternoon and may even be mostly sunny in northern Iowa. Highs will also be warmest in northern Iowa where there isn't snow on the ground, probably pushing 50 degrees. Farther south, highs should mostly stay in the 40s. Patchy fog is possible late tonight into early Saturday. A southwest breeze and mostly sunny sky send highs into the upper 50s to lower 60s - again, the warmest temperatures should be over northern Iowa where there won't be any leftover snow to melt. After a little dip in temperatures Sunday, it looks like much of next week should be in the 60s as rain chances hold off until Wednesday.