Governor Tate Reeves asked the US Small Business Administration to open low-interest disaster loans to businesses in Hinds County affected by the Jackson water crisis in an official letter Monday.
“Jackson’s businesses have been incredibly hard hit by the ongoing water crisis,” Reeves said in a statement. “They have shown their resilience and commitment to this city over the years, and my administration will continue to do everything in its power to support them during this difficult time.”
In his letter to the program director, Reeves explained how businesses from daycares to restaurants had to close when they lost water pressure. Restaurants that have been opened have suffered a significant loss of customers while incurring additional expenses to purchase drinking water to keep their doors open.
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Some companies also covered the costs of portable toilets when theirs couldn’t flush. Hotels, the governor mentioned, have also seen a sharp decline in overnight stays.
“Overall, with little or no running water across the city, businesses could not service, clean, cool or sanitize, forcing them to either incur losses or temporarily close,” the letter says.
In order to prove the county qualified for the loan program, the governor’s office had to investigate local businesses and show that at least five small businesses “suffered significant economic harm.”
Restaurants and other affected businesses filed paperwork on their costs and losses with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, giving the governor the data needed to apply for the program.
If activated, individual businesses could receive up to $2 million in SBA loans under the disaster program to help cover expenses and obligations that could have been met if the crisis of the water had not occurred. The amount of loan a business can receive will be based on its economic hardship and financial need.
The interest rate of the program does not exceed 4%.
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