New Federal Funds Allocated to COVID-19 Relief while Alaska Prepares to Reopen for Business
Update: The SBA will begin accepting new loan applications at 6:30 a.m. AKST on Monday, April 27.
President Trump has signed the $484 billion COVID-19 relief package, and Governor Dunleavy and Mayor Berkowitz release plans to reopen businesses.
President Trump has signed the $484 billion COVID-19 relief package, which was passed by the Senate on Tuesday and the House on Thursday.
The majority of the funding—$310 billion—is allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program. $60 billion of that has been set aside to aid businesses that do not have established banking relationships.
For the remainder of the money: $75 billion is slated for hospitals; $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants through the SBA; and $25 billion for testing support.
It is welcome news as Alaska looks to cautiously reopen for business. Governor Mike Dunleavy issued Health Mandate 16, which explains his Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan. Phase I of the plan allowed restaurants, retail stores, personal services such as barbers and nail salons, non-public facing businesses, public facing businesses, fishing charters, gyms, and remote lodges and camping facilities to resume limited operations as of April 24.
Operations are limited because all businesses looking to reopen must follow guidelines specific to their business to operation. The majority must have face coverings for all of their staff and practice ongoing and specific sanitation and cleaning protocols. Personal service businesses are prohibited from having waiting rooms; restaurants and retails stores can only operate at 25 percent capacity; gyms are limited to twenty customers at a time.
Additionally, childcare and day camps, intrastate travel and activities, and graduation ceremonies were authorized by the Governor to resume April 24. Childcare activities and day camps may only take place outdoors, and everyone must have face coverings. For those engaging in intrastate travel, only household members should travel together, and stops must be minimized. And graduation ceremonies are limited to twenty people.
Phase I does not provide information on when church activities and religious gathering might resume.
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has released Safe Anchorage: Roadmap to Reopening the Municipality of Anchorage. He said, “The more disciplined we are, the more responsible we remain, the safer we will be.”
The mayor’s plan also calls for phases of change, with Phase I allowing some businesses to reopen as early as Monday, April 27. He has emphasized that moving forward, decisions about additional phases will be “data based and not date based.” Berkowitz has also stated that it is the responsibility of businesses to review all criteria to best determine the right time to resume operations. The Municipality of Anchorage Coronavirus Response page has specific safety requirements by industry for retail, personal care services, food services, non-critical/non-public services, and non-critical/public facing services.
Please see our COVID-19 page for additional updates and information.
In This Issue
Diving into Alaska Aquaculture
Aquaculture is an industry Alaskans are probably familiar with, even if they’re unfamiliar with the term itself. Broadly, aquaculture refers to the cultivation of numerous species of fish and aquatic plants, such as shellfish, algae, and finfish, as well as enhancement and restoration projects designed to increase wild populations of specific species, says Heather McCarty, vice-chair of the Alaska Mariculture Task Force.