Roxy’s Market helped distribute hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves and masks to 80 businesses as a part of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce effort to help ease the opening process for area business owners. PHOTO COURTESY ROXY’S MARKET

In the business of being helpful

Big Sky Chamber assists businesses with micro grants and “reopening bundles”

Microgrants totalling $192,500 have been distributed to 57 local small businesses, Big Sky Chamber CEO Candace Carr Strauss explained during a recent Big Sky Relief update.

Deemed “The Big Sky Save Small Business Relief Fund” the program was made available thanks to a joint venture between Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Vacation Big Sky and the Big Sky Resort Area District. Reopening bundles for businesses – things like social distancing floor decals, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and stands as well as safe behavior posters and plexiglass shields for employees working at counters will be made available to local business owners using the remaining $17,500 from the fund.

Strauss explained that the effort of business survival in the midst of a pandemic is a partnership – that the path to recovery will be forged together; that business owners are not alone.

She encourages business owners to take advantage of government programs – tedious as the paperwork might be to wade through, those efforts are the government’s primary ways to help.

Three trillion dollars are now available for relief measures thanks to recent action by the U.S. House of Representatives when it passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is now available to all associations and nonprofits.

Additional changes according to a recent Big Sky Relief update include:

At least 25% of PPP funds would go to nonprofits, and at least half of that 25% would be reserved for nonprofits under 500 employees

- The covered period for PPP loans would be extended to December 31, 2020

- The covered period for PPP loan forgiveness would expand from the current eight weeks to 24 weeks

- The act clarifies that organizations receiving PPP loans can also take advantage of the Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit

- The act also eliminates the 75/25 rule on the use of loan proceeds

Strauss further explained that the Small Business Administration – upon consultation with the Department of the Treasury – released the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application on May 15 and provided instructions for the application; the application can be viewed online.

There is still approximately $100 billion in funding available for a PPP loan through the SBA. Strauss explained that since the SBA has received further forgiveness instructions, now might be the time for small business owners to reconsider if the loan is fitting for their businesses.

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