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Oregon commits $55M to help businesses hurt by COVID-19 restrictions

The announcement comes a day before a statewide two-week freeze begins.

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced the state will commit $55 million in financial assistance to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

The announcement comes a day before a statewide two-week freeze begins. The freeze will limit restaurants and bars to takeout only and close certain businesses, such as gyms.

The $55 million will be given to counties to distribute to businesses. A priority will be placed on the hospitality industry, businesses impacted by the freeze, small businesses, and women, Black, Indigenous, people of color and tribal-owned business.

Liz Hanna, owner of Mad Hanna on Northeast Fremont, is relieved that help is on the way. She says the future is grim without it.

"We're going to die," she said. "We're going to turn to dust waiting for the feds to get their stuff together for us."

The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association had been advocating for the immediate creation of a $75 million Hospitality Relief Fund. Greg Astley, of ORLA, says the $55 million in financial assistance announced by Gov. Brown is a great start. 

"We need relief now," he said. "We need that help from the state legislature."

Each county will receive a base of $500,000 plus a per capita allocation of the remainder of the funds. Counties will decide how businesses apply to receive funds and provide information about the application process. Business owners interested in applying should contact their county for more information.

The governor’s office anticipates the money will be distributed to counties within the next several weeks.

“Our iconic main street businesses have sacrificed too much already in this pandemic,” said Brown. “I know that this is not enough. I remain committed to fighting for additional resources at the federal level, including a reauthorization of the important features of the CARES Act, like the Payroll Protection Program and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.”

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