Guides, Shop Owners, and Other Fishing Related Businesses: Here is the Information on the Relief Package for Covid-19

Resources are available. Here’s how to start applying.

Tony Friedrich VP/Policy Director

Last week, we made a formal plea to Capitol Hill to remember the fishermen in their relief planning. We followed up with a conference call on Saturday with Senator Markey (D-MA), key members of his staff, and other members of the fishing community.

By Saturday afternoon, we published another blog with preliminary information on the relief package. We also made a promise to have more concrete information by the middle of this week. Well… here it is.

Before we get started we want to share something with our readers. We know there is a deep distrust between citizens and elected officials. It is important for you to understand that many of your senators went to bat for you. There were democrats and republicans from one side of this country to the other working together for their constituents (you).

Senator Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Collins (R-ME), Senator Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Markey (D-MA), Senator Sullivan (R-AK), and Senator Warren (D-MA) worked together to get this done. They put you, the fishermen, first. The senators and their staff walked into uncharted territory and worked extremely hard to make sure we weren’t forgotten. You might want to send them thank your emails. Seriously… not kidding. They need to hear from you.

Now, on to the good stuff…

On Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a Small Business Owner’s Guide. It is a summary of what businesses qualify for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The item most critical to our members was the inclusion of unemployment relief for the self-employed. We got it in there!

There will be federal relief of $600 per week on top of the normal state unemployment. This will be run through the states and it will take them a few days to make these adjustments. We already had a few members denied because the changes haven’t taken effect in all the states. Be as patient as you can. It will happen.

There is also a Paycheck Protection Program as well as other options for small business loans. Here’s a link to local and regional offices so you can begin that process. The payroll protection program will cover employee payroll, owner salary, and operating expenses. The payroll and salary portions are forgiven but only 25% of the operating portion will be forgivable. The rest must be paid back. Please take that into consideration when filling out the paperwork. The Small Business Administration has just updated their website with a sample application. Please look at this!

Here’s the catch, we are fishermen. Those forms and documents can be daunting to navigate. The language is confusing and frankly, most of us aren’t built to filling out government forms.

Right now, the funds are there. The process is still being hammered out. That means there are still questions. We know you are hurting, we are too. This is happening at light speed. The states have to catch up. The federal government is working at break neck speed so you can take advantage of this. Work with them… don’t let the frustration get to you. It will all get worked out shortly.

Senator Markey’s staff saw this coming and made an easy to understand cheat sheet for the application process. We urge you to use this. Heck, I even understood it during our review and that says something.

We are going to keep at this. This is just the next step. Please reach out with any questions you have to

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