U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, speaks during an interview with the Juneau Empire at the Capitol in February 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, speaks during an interview with the Juneau Empire at the Capitol in February 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Senators: Loan program refilled, terms now more favorable for seasonal businesses

Small businesses can apply for loans again

The federal program that subsidizes loans to small businesses has been funded once again, according to Alaska’s senators who spoke to reporters Monday via teleconference.

At a press conference, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, said seasonal businesses would receive loans under that program based on how many employees they have during their busiest time of year, rather than how many they currently have.

That provision was problematic for a some tourism businesses, Sullivan said, which currently have only a few employees but who employee several more during the summer.

“The loan that a small business can get is going to function as the number of their employees,” at the height of the tourism season, he said. “Your loan will be calculated according to a 12-week period from (May to September) 2019.”

Sullivan said he had spoken to Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, about issues concerning Alaska’s fisherman. Fishermen should be considered alongside farm workers and other essential workers going forward, Sullivan said, when it comes to any future initiatives from the government.

At the press conference, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he was encouraged by the state beginning to open up economically, but that it was important to monitor the number of cases in the state to ensure there wasn’t spread of COVID-19.

Even still, the governor said, “we expect more cases, even if we didn’t open up we’d expect more cases.”

There won’t be an evening press conference Tuesday, Dunleavy said.

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