By Cory Gardner
When we have a tornado warning on the Eastern Plains, wailing sirens inform my neighbors and I when we need to take cover and when it is safe for us to emerge from shelter. Millions of Americans are now sheltering at home because they heard the dire warnings from our state and national leaders about COVID-19 and the dangers we saw in Washington, California, New York and Italy.
Part of the anxiety caused by this pandemic comes from the absence of an “all clear” siren telling us it is safe to go back into our communities. I hear it in the voices of Coloradans on the telephone town halls I’ve held in every county: “When will this end?” “How long must we keep our businesses closed?” “How long can we go on like this?”
There’s no easy answer, and certainly not a one-size-fits-all answer from Washington, D.C. That’s why I’m working with Gov. Jared Polis to support a phase-in approach that’s right for Colorado. Communities all over the country will look ahead to the end of this hibernation from their own unique vantage point, with their own unique circumstances.
But there are steps that Congress must make to mitigate the harm as much as possible and help the American people and the American economy prepare to bounce back. Congress can help pave the path back to prosperity that our local communities can take when it is safe.
For instance, rapid, widespread testing for COVID-19 will be key to re-opening the areas that have demonstrated they have the virus under control. Congress must do what it can to make that testing as available as possible. I believe the nation needs to get to a point where coronavirus tests are widely available ― even at the nearest gas station for purchase.
Congress must also make sure the Paycheck Protection Program, one of the most crucial elements of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is fully funded and improved where needed to better support America’s small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program was created in order to keep employees on payroll and bills paid, so workers can keep their jobs, salaries and benefits, and small businesses can hit the ground running when they’re able to resume operations.
It costs valuable time and resources to lay off workers and later rehire and onboard employees. Some businesses may not survive the interim time period of uncertainty and lack of income, which is why the Paycheck Protection Program is vital to hold together the backbone of our economy.
In the program’s first two weeks, Colorado small businesses received 41,635 loans totaling more than $7.3 billion to keep workers on payroll and businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We should do everything we can to make the Paycheck Protection Program and the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program a success. I’ll continue to work with Gov. Polis and the administration to push for better services and support for Coloradans during these challenging times.Read the Article Here