Ducey: Arizona needs emergency coronavirus small business loans

Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Wednesday that he has sent a letter requesting a special emergency loan from the federal government for small businesses in Arizona that would help them in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The governor sent the letter on Tuesday to the United States Small Business Administration, an agency that provides loans and lines of credit to small businesses, requesting an “economic injury disaster loan declaration.” 

Ducey is not the first governor to do so. 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also requested similar federal funding yesterday. The agency can provide up to $2 million. 

Ducey’s letter requests that the loans would be used for Apache, Cochise, Maricopa, Pima and Yavapai counties. 

“Businesses across the State have already experienced significant economic losses and are anticipated to continue to lose revenue due to this pandemic,” Ducey wrote in the letter. 

On Tuesday, Phoenix and Tucson both shut down all bars and sharply limited access to restaurants, barring on-premises dining, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.

President Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio have already requested $50 billion in loans from the agency which approved $30 billion in grants last fiscal year, according to CNBC

“Arizona’s small business community is grateful to Governor Ducey for prioritizing the health and safety of Arizonans while supporting businesses impacted by COVID-19,” Chad Heinrich, Arizona State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement to Arizona Mirror. “Without a doubt, these tough times will take a significant toll on our economy and the livelihood of working men and women throughout the state. This relief will go a long way to repair the damage done and protect Arizona families.”

The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce said it also supports Ducey’s decision. 

“Ensuring that small businesses have access to emergency resources at this time is a top priority for the Chamber,” Mike Huckins, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Phoenix Chamber, said in an emailed statement to the Mirror.

At a press conference with Ducey, Kimber Lanning, founder of nonprofit organization Local First Arizona, said the organization is preparing to help small businesses fill out loan applications if and when Arizona receives approval for the coronavirus loans. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of Arizona’s economy. It is crucial we show up for them now,” Lanning said, recalling stories she has heard of local hotels that have seen six figure drops in revenue already and catering businesses that have lost all their contracts. 

Lanning encouraged members of the public to help by ordering food for pickup or delivery from local, independently owned restaurants. Those unable to do so should share stories of great local businesses to drum up support for them, she said.