Leaders highlight services and resources available to businesses during COVID-19

Government and business leaders Wednesday highlighted services and resources that are available to assist large and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Allen County Commissioners Rich Beck, Therese Brown and Nelson Peters were joined by Scott Glaze, CEO, Fort Wayne Metals, Tinisha Weigelt, district director of the office of U.S. Representative Jim Banks, State Representative Phil GiaQuinta, and John Urbahns, president & CEO, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Highlights of ongoing response and available resources:

From the office of Rep. Banks: Information and resources related to the federal government’s response to COVID-19–including resources related to the PPP loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit–have been distributed to over 200,000 residents of northeast Indiana in daily emails. Rep. Banks and his team have personally called over 4,000 constituents to answer questions ranging from small business loans to economic impact payments to navigating the unemployment process. Rep. Banks has hosted a series of virtual outreach efforts to share vital information from experts about resources and programs available to constituents and to hear feedback from those on the ground fighting the COVID-19 crisis. His Facebook LIVE town hall on March 20 with medical professionals reached nearly 40,000 people. As Rep. Banks continues to advocate for northeast Indiana’s priorities, your feedback and input are extremely valuable. If you need assistance, please call our office at (260) 702-4750 or visit https://banks.house.gov/.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has been working to help the local business community navigate COVID-19. The GFW Inc. team has delivered key information to business leaders via email and an online Resource Hub (covid19.gfwinc.com), with timely updates about federal stimulus legislation and guidance on how to obtain critical funding from initiatives such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Working remotely, staff members have called 1,400 Allen County businesses to check in, offer support, and answer questions–many times obtaining answers directly from the offices of local, state, and federal officials. Business leaders with questions may call GFW Inc. at 260-420-6945 or email info@gfwinc.com.

“We recognize that many local businesses are experiencing pain and uncertainty. We want to reassure the business community that we’re doing everything possible to get needed services and resources to them in a timely and effective manner,” Henry said in a statement. “The business sector is critical to Fort Wayne and Allen County. Fortunately, we have partners at the local, state, and federal levels committed to helping businesses through this unprecedented challenge. I look forward to having businesses open again and getting back to being successful as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

“This is a defining moment in business. With COVID-19 triggering a national emergency, many companies are trying to find new ways to survive. The good news is there is help at the federal and state levels for businesses to help reduce the economic disruption they face. We want to provide support to our businesses, entrepreneurs, and people working at home during this time who may be in need of resources that can help them adapt to the changing landscape,” the commissioners stated.

“We can’t be knee-jerk (about reopening businesses),”Peters said.How far we’ve fallen is less important than how we pick ourselves up.”

“Now is not the time to quit (taking precautions),” Henry agreed. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. We owe it to our loved ones.”

Urbahns said Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has been in regular contact with its 1,400 members, connecting them with helpful resources and to prepare guidelines for reopening in a way that protects the health of employees and the public.

The public is encouraged to visit www.cityoffortwayne.org/covid-19 where a community resource page has been created and is updated regularly with information about COVID-19, local government responses, and other organizations that serve the public and how collectively there is help available to those who may need assistance. The site also includes a list of possible ways area residents can help. A comprehensive listing of non-profits assisting with basic needs is also on the website.


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