Coronavirus Relief Fund (CARES) Received by Tulsa County Addresses the Deadly Disease
Over the past 90 days, the coronavirus has brought what was a very strong local economy to its knees. Just three months ago, unemployment was in the low single digits and sales were the strongest they had been in years. Now unemployment and a sagging economy has taken a tremendous toll on the small business community.
As we start to reemerge from what we all hope is the worst of COVID 19, small and medium businesses need help getting back on their feet. The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CARES) funding received by Tulsa County can and will be used to address the adverse circumstances caused by the coronavirus.
Small businesses, already struggling to reopen due to lost revenues, face even more adversity. Those who have face-to-face contact with their customers are now required to meet new health and safety standards. Personal protection equipment (PPE) must be worn when serving customers. Preparing for this “new normal” comes with heavy costs, which many small businesses cannot afford after weeks of little to no business income.
Using $550,000 of the Tulsa County CARES funds, over 2,300 PPE kits will be purchased and distributed to small business employers in Tulsa County. Each kit contains a one-month supply of PPE items, which includes an ample supply of sanitizer, disinfectant, cloth masks, disposable masks, and thermometers.
While this is a good first step, many small businesses also need funding to help them get back on their feet and to address financial obligations that went unmet when there was little to no commercial transactions occurring. Working in partnership with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) Tulsa County created the Tulsa County RESET program.
Designed to address employers with 50 or less employees, the RESET program will provide forgivable loans, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, depending on the number of employees. These funds can be used to pay costs such as rent and/or lease payments, past utility bills, past due amounts owed to vendors, bank loans, etc. Other business costs will also be considered.
TEDC will provide a “one stop” venue where the business will complete and submit a qualifying application online, which will require documentation of the business expense. Comparable to a bank loan transaction, the business owner will agree to document the expenditures, sign a security agreement and a promissory note in the event the loan is defaulted on and must be repaid.
Tulsa County will be providing $25,000,000 to fund the Tulsa County RESET program. Use of the CARES funds should provide approximately 1,000 loans to small businesses throughout Tulsa County.
The Board of County Commissioners believes this two-prong approach of making the workplace safe for both employees and customers and providing financial support to speed up the recovery time will help restart and reset our economy and job market throughout Tulsa County.