SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Council tonight indicated unanimous approval for Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s proposal to direct $1 million of city funds to help businesses facing economic uncertainties in the wake of COVID-19’s spread.
“The business interruption happening in our community is significant and while we are bracing for an even bigger impact, we are listening and evolving solutions. Small businesses drive our local economy and are crucial to our vibrancy,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “More than 90% of the 17,000 licensed businesses in Salt Lake City are small businesses and we want to make sure they have every opportunity to withstand any interruption in the coming weeks and months.”
“We know the anxiety many are feeling about this pandemic,” said Council Chair Chris Wharton. “Working with the Mayor, we are reviewing all the tools available to help our community, especially small, locally owned businesses that are particularly vulnerable right now.”
The Salt Lake City Emergency Loan Fund will consist of a zero percent interest, flexible-term loan of up to $20,000 per approved business.
While distribution of funds is slated to begin next week, the City will begin outreach to affected businesses immediately to encourage them to apply for this funding which could help them make payroll, pay bills, and keep their operations going while the community waits for the pandemic to pass.
“We recognize this won’t solve all the problems businesses are facing,” said Acting Director of the City’s Department of Economic Development Ben Kolendar. “But we know relief is needed quickly and this program will provide that relief in a matter of days, not weeks or months.”
The Council is likely to take a formal vote on the program at its next meeting. This Emergency Loan Fund will function as a stop-gap measure to provide immediate relief for businesses as federal resources, such as the Small Business Administration $50,000,000,000 relief plan, are being developed. Information on the fund and how to apply will be available on the afternoon of March 18 at SLC.gov/ED.Tags: COVID-19, Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Council