COVID-19 Updates
Greetings from the Ashland Chamber,

As the 2 trillion dollar federal stimulus package approaches final approval anticipated on Friday, March 27th and final signature from the President to follow, we are all looking for specifics of how and when the money can be accessed. With the 350 billion dollars set aside for small business loans, it is critical those monies are accessible as soon as possible. Details are still being worked out with the federal agencies, the Small Business Administration and banks who will be utilized in this new Paycheck Protection Program as these loans are guaranteed by the US Treasury.

These 60-day loans (forgivable with certain requirements) will be based on 125% of payroll to allow businesses to either keep their employees or bring back staff they have had to lay off. Additionally, there will be payments to individuals and an expansion of unemployment benefits to include independent contractors, as well as, adding thirteen weeks to unemployment. These are moving parts and pieces daily as they are being negotiated and there is already discussion of expansion and new programs.

Next week, the Oregon Legislature will have a special session to discuss primarily budget issues regarding the COVID-19 crisis and state government response. We, along with other Chambers in the state are asking for a delay in the CAT (Commercial Activities Tax) as well as other relief programs for small businesses.

We have strong and trusted relationships with our legislators at the local, regional, state and federal levels. These relationships are more valuable now than ever before as I personally call on them for support daily. This strong communication pathway has allowed me to not only share your concerns and the devastating impact on your businesses but also ask for relief in the form of loans, tax relief, grants and ease of access and process.

I serve on the Governor’s Regional Solutions Economic Recovery Network connecting with other regional leaders to share our impacts and garner available resources as they become available. Yesterday, when Senator Jeff Merkley called me to share the elements of the stimulus bill listening to my comments on the impacts on business and Ashland, I was reminded once again that it is partnerships and strong relationships that will help us get through this crisis.

As we continue to share with you whatever resources we can find in the most-timely manner possible, we also know this is a time of tremendous struggle and challenge like none of us have ever encountered. I know programs and resources will continue to be developed as we move through this recovery. Please check our website www.ashlandchamber.com for more information about the above mentioned programs and more. We update it daily as new information becomes available. Here is a direct link to Senator Merkley’s Stimulus Bill Fact Sheet & FAQs .

We are so grateful to you.

Sincerely,
Sandra Slattery
Executive Director, Ashland Chamber of Commerce

Thank you to the Ashland Chamber’s
Partners in Emergency Preparedness and Recovery