Businesses need to fill out COVID-19 economic survey

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to The SUN

We know that the current economic situation has wreaked havoc on our community. Based on the responses provided so far by the Chamber’s COVID-19 Economic Survey, 24 percent of businesses responding have closed their doors until further notice and 36 percent of businesses indicate that business is down 50-90 percent. These businesses have obviously laid off all or a majority of their staff. 

We are still gathering statistics to try and garner an accurate economic picture of our community. Data is important and it is important that we have an accurate economic picture of our community. 

The survey has been out for a week and we have had an excellent response rate. However, there are still a number of businesses that could respond and give us an even more accurate economic picture of our community. Within the survey, there is also an opportunity for businesses to comment on how the community can help or what tools are needed to assist our businesses. 

The survey can be accessed from the homepage on the Chamber website, www.pagosachamber.com. It takes about five minutes to complete and the survey will be live until April 30. Similar surveys are being conducted throughout our region and even the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is conducting one. We ask that our business community give us some accurate data with which to take to our town and county officials and our economic development and financial entities. 

Updated financial
options

Beginning on Monday, April 20, self-employed and gig workers can apply for unemployment insurance. If you filed before, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) may not have been able to accept your application. However, they are prepared now to accept these types of applications. 

Remember that you must file based on the initial of your last name: A-M can file on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and after noon on Saturdays, and M-Z can file Monday, Wednesday, Friday and before noon on Saturdays. 

Submitting an email address is also the best and quickest way to receive your PIN number from the CDLE, which is required to collect your benefits. The $600 stimulus addition to unemployment should also kick in this week. People may not see the whole amount in one week but spread out over several weeks. 

At this time, businesses are not able to file for the Paycheck Protection Program. A second stimulus package is anticipated. Businesses should continue to get their paperwork in order, visit with your banker and get ready to file should another package become available. However, there are other financial options for our businesses now. The Town of Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (CDC) have allocated funds to a loan program managed by the Region 9 Economic Development District of SW Colorado. Loans can range from $1,000 to $5,000. The loans are offered at zero percent interest for one year, 1 percent thereafter for six months and then prime. There are also other loans options offered by Region 9. 

In addition, there are grant programs available for nonprofit agencies through the Community Emergency Relief Fund program managed by the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado. Financial institutions also are offering loan programs. Visit your banker and speak about some of the options that may be available to you. You can also check out the Chamber website for additional loan opportunities there. 

We continue to encourage our businesses to contact the Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Development Center for more information. Tune into our Facebook Live stream on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. for updates on community, business and self-employment information. Also check out the www.swcoda.org website for information on public health, community and business resources. Questions can also be directed to the Central Call Center at 422-7084. Types of information includes transportation and grocery shopping, meals and food banks, unemployment, COVID-19 testing and much more. Thanks to all the volunteers on the call center and the food coalition. 

Remember to take care and take out, and be careful and buy local online. Birthdays, anniversaries and special events still are taking place. Order online locally to continue to give that gift of Pagosa.

 

This story was posted on April 24, 2020.