The changing look of retail

The Legends Outlets parking lots looked empty on Friday afternoon as a “stay-at-home” order was in effect in Wyandotte County to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Legends closed on Tuesday. Some restaurants may be open for carryout. The “stay-at-home” order went into effect Tuesday and continues through April 23.
The Legends Outlets parking lots looked empty on Friday afternoon as a “stay-at-home” order was in effect in Wyandotte County because of COVID-19. The Legends closed on Tuesday. Some restaurants may be open for carryout.
The parking lot of Walmart near 108th and Parallel Parkway looked busy on Friday afternoon, although a “stay-at-home” order was in effect because of COVID-19. Residents are allowed to make trips for food, medication and necessities.

UG Commission approves small business grants

The Unified Government Commission on Thursday night approved small business grants for Wyandotte County.

The grants are for up to $5,000. According to UG Administrator Doug Bach, there is no effect on the current budget, since the funding for the program has already been approved.

Now, however, the grants can be expedited and can be made available quickly to local businesses, according to UG officials.

Katherine Carttar, director of economic development for the UG, said the small business grant fund is $50,000. The UG has been allotting grants annually for small businesses, and made some changes Thursday because of COVID-19, she said.

The UG will loosen the eligibility standards for what the funds may be used for, she said. The grants now may be used for capital access, workforce capacity, inventory and supply shortfalls, facility remediation and cleanup costs, and marketing.

The UG will remove all application deadlines for the 2020 year, and will accept ongoing applications, she said.

Also, the UG is removing the requirement for matching funds, she said.

The maximum amount a business could apply for has been reduced to $5,000, Carttar said. Previously it was $10,000. This will allow the UG to increase the number of businesses it may assist, she said.

The need for documentation will remain in place, but the UG no longer will require financial projections, as it is something that is currently difficult to come up with, she added.

It was unanimously approved Thursday night, and the UG started accepting applications on Friday.

Bach said if the program is successful, the UG could ask the commission at a later date for additional funding.

Commissioner Tom Burroughs, who voted for the program, said the governor also has put in place a $5 million program to help small businesses across the state.

For more information, call 913-573-5439, email SmallBusiness@wycokck.org or visit
wycokck.org/economic and https://www.wycokck.org/WycoKCK/media/Health-Department/Documents/UG-Small-Business-Incentive-Program.pdf.

Senators support economic relief package

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, said two of his key priorities, purchasing medications through health savings accounts and the zoonotic animal drug designation, were included in the economic relief package passed by the Senate on Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, said many of his priorities, including resources for Small Business Administration loans and support for health care providers, also were in the package.

The U.S. Senate passed the CARES Act on a 96-0 vote on Thursday. The bill, estimated at $2 trillion, then was approved by the U.S. House on Friday.

The bill provided direct assistance to individual Americans, an expansion of unemployment benefits and many assistance programs for various segments of the economy.

A statement from Sen. Roberts:


“The CARES Act provides one of the most powerful and timely economic relief packages in our nation’s history. Responding to the challenge of the novel coronavirus will require a collective effort from our entire nation. The bill that passed the Senate today represents ideas from both sides of the political aisle but with a shared purpose: to deliver a necessary financial bridge to American households, workers, and businesses through the economic shock from COVID-19.

“The comprehensive relief package provides emergency checks to individuals and families; cash flow assistance to protect workers and small businesses; significantly expanded unemployment benefits and availability; financial assistance to severely distressed industries of the national economy; and increased funding for hospitals and healthcare providers.

“The legislation includes S. 1089, the Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2019 and the Priority Zoonotic Animal Drug designation, Senator Roberts’ zoonotic animal drug priority.

“I’m glad to see two of my key priorities included in the coronavirus legislation. The Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2019 will make it easier to purchase medications through health savings accounts, which will help stop the spread of the coronavirus by keeping those who are experiencing mild symptoms out of the doctor’s office. The Priority Zoonotic Animal Drug designation will help treat future zoonotic diseases, like the coronavirus, before they cause serious harm to humans.”

Sen. Moran’s statement:

“Our country is facing a pandemic, and we must act now to make certain Kansans have the support they need to weather this storm. The CARES Act is far from perfect and includes many provisions I would not support in ordinary circumstances, but hospitals need supplies, small businesses need loans, farmers and ranchers need certainty and folks who are out of work, through no fault of their own, need relief. Through direct payments to families, assistance to hurting industries and strategic solutions to meet health care demands, Phase III will provide relief and resources to help make certain small businesses can keep employees on the payroll and reopen their doors when this pandemic has passed.

“Despite the bill’s many imperfections, I’m pleased a number of provisions I advocated for are included in this legislation, such as providing aid to the aviation industry and community banks and providing additional resources to the FCC as we utilize more broadband and telecommunications services to meet the economic and educational needs of families in this uncertain time.”

Sen. Moran’s priorities included in the CARES Act:


• Resources for SBA Loans: Improves the utility of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program by temporarily increasing the types of businesses, nonprofits, and lenders eligible to participate in the program, providing flexibility in the use of such loans, and instituting loan forgiveness measures to keep employees on the payroll.
• Support for Health Care Providers: Supplies $100 billion in direct assistance to health care providers treating COVID-19 patients. Also increases payments to Critical Access Hospitals during this pandemic.
• Resources for Critical Medical Supplies: Addresses medical supply shortages by providing $16 billion to procure personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies.
• Resources for Vaccines, Therapeutics, Diagnostics, and other Medical Needs: Provides $11 billion for producing a vaccine and other medical supplies to prevent the virus and help treat it.
• Support for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Provides $4.3 billion to the CDC for public health preparedness and response.
• Support for Critical Research on COVID-19: Provides resources for research and development efforts of the National Science Foundation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Increase to Food Access: Provides $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks purchase, store and distribute food to people in need.
• Support for Veterans: Provides $19 billion for the Department of Veteran Affairs to treat COVID-19, purchase test kits and Personal Protective Equipment and support veterans during this pandemic.
• Support for Farmers and Ranchers: Includes $9.5 billion for the Secretary of Agriculture to provide support to farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19, including livestock producers; and includes $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation to address challenges in the agricultural economy.
• Support for Manufacturers: Includes $50 million of additional funds to NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program, which provides direct support to the nation’s small and mid-sized manufacturers, and none of the funds provided under this legislation would be subject to the cost share requirement that is a normal requirement for this program.
• Relief for Community Banks: Lowers the Community Bank Leverage Ratio, allowing banks to dip further into their capital reserves for increased lending during these times of stress. This will help banks quickly provide loans to those who need them.
• Relief for Aviation Industry: Provides $10 billion in relief for airports, including $100 million for general aviation airports.
• Support for Kansas Airports: Includes $56 million for essential air service (EAS), providing aid to the five EAS airports in Kansas.
• Support for Tribes: Dedicates $8 billion in economic support to tribal governments, plus $1 billion for Indian Health Services.
• Support for FCC COVID-19 Response: Helps the FCC prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.
• Removal of Regulatory Burdens: Fixes regulations in the paid leave mandate for small businesses.
• Support for Economic Recovery: Provides additional funding support to the Economic Development Administration to address national economic injury impacts resulting from COVID-19.
• Support for Rural Development: Provides additional resources for USDA’s Business & Industry Loan Program, USDA’s Distance, Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program and the USDA’s ReConnect Program to expand broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved areas.