Governor announces aid for small businesses as 15 additional COVID-19 cases are reported

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Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a program Monday developed in conjunction with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Department of Revenue and Iowa Workforce Development to help aid small businesses impacted by closures and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 emergency.

“Iowa’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and the engine behind our economy, and that is why it is critically important that we take steps to help support our small businesses during these challenging times,” she said.

The governor thanked Iowans for stepping up to support local businesses and “buy local,” and also thanked the Trump Administration and the Small Business Administration for quick response to support Iowa small businesses before announcing a new state-based disaster assistance program for small businesses making small grants from $5,000-25,000 available to employers that employ 2 to 25 employees.

The Department of Revenue will automatically extend the sales and withholding tax deadline for any business that gets a grant and will consider an extension for any business that applies for a grant, she added..

Additionally, Iowa Workforce Development will allow businesses with fewer than 50 employees to delay their unemployment tax payments for the first quarter until July 31.

“These three actions will provide much-needed relief for struggling small businesses as well as some help with cashflow,” she said, while acknowledging it does not make up for having businesses closed for an extended period of time or customers staying home. “It is our hope that we can help businesses weather the storm, and as governor, I want you to know I am committed to helping them do just that.”

Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, acknowledged they were in uncharted territory, but promised to act “swiftly and with purpose.” Iowa business owners asked for a wide variety of assistance, she explained, including various forms of financial assistance and tax deferment. She said the Iowa Small Business Relief Program offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for Iowa businesses seeking such assistance.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) said Monday it has been notified of 15 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, making a total of 105 positive cases.

There have been a total of 2,043 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.

According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 15 individuals include:

  • Allamakee County, 1 adult (18-40 years)
  • Dubuque County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Hancock County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Johnson County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)
  • Linn County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
  • Muscatine County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
  • Polk County, 1 adult (18-40 years),  1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
  • Wapello County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
  • Woodbury County, 1 middle-aged adult (41-60 years)

A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.

The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at other labs, and will soon provide additional information regarding hospitalization and recovery.

“This is the time that we need every Iowan to do their part and help mitigate and slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep essential services up and running,” Gov. Reynolds said. “If you do not need to leave your house to help your family or other Iowans respond to this disaster, stay home. If your job allows you to work from home, do so. If you can keep your children home with you instead of taking them to daycare, do so. If you are an employer with a workforce able to work remotely, help them work remotely.”

The governor implored Iowans to limit time away from home to trips for essentials like groceries, medications and necessary supplies, suggested sending just one family member out for errands.

She also thanked those on the front lines of response efforts for their sacrifice and asked them to stay safe by practicing social distancing and careful hygiene, while reminding those who are sick to stay home.

“Now is a critical time for our state and I am counting on every Iowan to be responsible for their own health and the health of others by doing the right thing now. So, stay home, and help us save a life. We’re all in this together,” she said.