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New eligibility changes for Alaska CARES could open up program to those once denied

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On Thursday morning’s Covid Brief, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Executive Director Tim Dillon discussed the economic assistance available to business owners affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. He emphasized that the programs aren’t meant to be a replacement for lost revenue.
    “They are there to hopefully, make you, or put you in a position where you'll be able to continue through another year,” Dillon said. “It's there to set up relief for some of your expenses.”
    He said there are seven categories of expenses that can be reimbursed.
    “One of the seven is expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary reopening expenses? Well, some folks have looked at that and said, I don't know what that is. I don't know how to do that. Well, that's not for everybody. That's basically for our restaurants or hospitality industry that on March 11th, when the governor said everything's shut down, I'm sure that there were a variety of restaurants down in Homer, and I dealt with a lot of them already, that had to throw things out different kinds of food that you know, were perishable,” he said. “So this allows them to get all that inventory rebuilt and to be able to get assistance with that.”
    Dillon also passed on advice he’s given fishermen in the area.
    “Go on over to the gear shed, ask them to pull from March 11th until now all the things that you've purchased on, on account. And for the most part, we'll be able to help you get all those things reimbursed, whether it was, you know, some, hoses for your hydraulic system or any of those kinds of things,” he said.
    He also said building plexiglass sneeze-guards in one’s store and providing personal protective equipment to staff and customers is also reimbursable, as are utilities, which Dillon says means more than just electricity.
    “Utilities is not just electric. It's electric, it's gas, it's fuel. It's your cell phone. It's your website, all those other areas. And that really, could be a big nut for a lot of people. You have to remember that they're only going to give you between $5,000 and a hundred thousand (dollars). but you can get there pretty quick, especially when you start looking at your utility payment.”
    He reminds applicants that even if an item submitted for reimbursement is turned down, there is a robust appeals process, and his office is there to help.
    And, he says those who may have been deemed ineligible for Alaska CARES funding may have new options.
    “There's been a variety of folks that we've talked to that are ineligible for Alaska CARES because they applied for either PTP or EIDL and got more than $5,000,” Dillon said. “My comment to you today is get started on filling out Alaska CARES stuff now, because that is going to change. and we're hoping that that'll change within the next two weeks.”
    You can hear the complete conversation with Dillon from Thursday morning’s Covid Brief, as well as a discussion about school opening on Monday with the school district’s Pegge Erkeneff online here.

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