CBJ EDITORIAL

Federal relief money to blunt the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is starting to make its way into the bank accounts of small businesses.

Unfortunately, it’s reported that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which could help many small businesses survive the second quarter of 2020, is already out of money. The program exhausted its initial allocation of $350 billion last week. The Small Business Administration, which administers it, said it had approved about 1.3 million applications, totaling more than $289 billion in loans, as it began another day of processing requests on April 15.

We are hopeful that the federal government will pass additional relief money to help the small businesses that qualify but have yet to apply or receive money after the $350 billion is exhausted.

[Publisher’s Note: The Corridor Media Group, the small, family-owned media company which publishes the CBJ, is among businesses greatly impacted by this crisis. It received a low-interest PPP loan last week, which can become forgivable if certain terms of the program are met.]

CID gets relief

The Eastern Iowa Airport is one of the region’s most vital economic engines. The COVID-19 crisis impacts the airport tremendously because air travel has simply dried up.

Business travel, like marketing and advertising, is one of the first budget areas that are typically cut during an economic calamity. This is evident now.

Fortunately, the Eastern Iowa Airport will receive $22.8 million relief grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is part of a $70.5 million award for airports across Iowa that was included in a $10 billion allotment by Congress in the CARES Act.

Industry experts estimate a year-over-year decline in airline traffic, of up to 95 percent as a result of the pandemic.

This money “will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release last week.

Best and worst of times

One of literature’s most famous passages: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” applies to many of our lives in the COVID-19 crisis.

Business operations and sales might be in the worst condition business owners can remember. On the other hand, more families are eating dinner, taking walks, and watching television together.

Crises like the one we are experiencing tend to refocus our priorities on what is most important in life, such as family and health.

Another benefit of this time of reflection is renewed appreciation for many of the professions we often take for granted. Journalists, teachers, medical professionals, truck drivers, food delivery workers, grocery store workers and many others are going to amazing lengths to help us get through this crisis, often at personal risk. •