Tourism

Thanks to the speedy response from Abilene and Dickinson County hospitality industry businesses of completing economic injury worksheets for the Kansas Department of Emergency Management (KDEM), Kansas was declared eligible for Small Business Association (SBA) Federal Disaster Loans.

“We were contacted by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism on Sunday, March 15 to complete economic injury worksheets. KDEM requested forms from five businesses in 60 Kansas counties be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday,” said Julie Roller Weeks, Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau Director. “Abilene and Dickinson County hospitality businesses were quick to answer our call and we worked with them to complete the worksheets.”

On Friday, March 20, Governor Kelly and the Kansas Department of Commerce announced the Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency (HIRE) Fund to provide bridge loans for Kansas’ hospitality sector during the COVID-19 crisis.

Eligible businesses in Kansas can apply for a one-time loan of up to $20,000 at 0% interest for 36 months. There will be no principal or interest payments for the first four months.

“Once the program was announced, several Abilene businesses contacted us about applying,” Roller Weeks said. “We hope this program can help these businesses bridge the gap in sales and visitation.”

While the administration allocated $5 million in the first round of bridge loans for hospitality businesses, these funds have now been allocated. However, the Kansas Department of Commerce is keeping its form open and will continue to collect information from Kansas hospitality businesses on the losses they are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitality businesses include restaurants, bars, lodging facilities, conference and event centers, and funds can be used for commercial loan and lease payments, utility bills, payroll, accounts payable and inventory.

“We appreciate all Abilene’s hospitality industry does to serve residents and travelers and hope additional resources will be available to assist these businesses” Roller Weeks said. “We are all in this together.”

To complete the form visit https://www.kansascommerce.gov/covid-19-response/hospitality-industry-relief-emergency-hire-fund/. For questions, contact the Network Kansas Referral Center at (877) 521-8600 or info@networkkansas.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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