Texas governor announces business initiative, says reopening will be gradual

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced a small business initiative between Goldman Sachs and LiftFund, which is based in San Antonio.

LiftFund helped small businesses rebuild after Hurricane Harvey, and now the non-profit organization is set to help small businesses recover from the economic devastation as a result of COVID-19.

“Small businesses and their employees are at the heart of the Texas economy, and they need support during these difficult times,” said Governor Abbott. “These loans will help us revitalize our economy and restore Texans’ livelihoods as we respond to COVID-19. I thank Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund for providing this lifeline to Texas small businesses and their employees by providing them with the support they need to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19. This partnership is an important first step in our journey to economic recovery in the state of Texas.”

Goldman Sachs today announced a commitment of $50 million dollars for loans to small businesses across Texas.  It’s part of a $550 million national commitment that Goldman Sachs recently announced to aid small businesses and communities suffering through the coronavirus crisis.

These loans, made through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), will primarily be used for payroll so that employees can continue to receive paychecks and small businesses can retain their employees . In Texas, these loans will be made available through LiftFund and other CDFIs .

“They will provide urgent cash flow assistance, and are designed to be partially or wholly forgiven if necessary criteria are met,” said John Waldron, President and Chief Operating  Officer of Gold man Sachs. . “Goldman Sachs understands that our communities and economy rely on small business and we are doing everything we can to support this vital engine of economic growth and employment.”

Janie Barrera, President and CEO of LifFund announced that they’re ready to begin the application process today at the LiftFund website.

The Governor  also was joined for the announcement by Brent Reaves, owner of Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que in Dallas, Patricia and Clint Butler, owners of Coffeecionado Community Roasters in San Antonio, and Michele and Mitch Allen, owners of iRun Texas in San Antonio. The Butlers and Allens will be the first to benefit from this partnership to provide PPP loans in Texas.

Abbot said he’ll announce later this week a plan to reopen businesses.  He said the first operations to open will be those that have minimal to zero impact on the spread of COVID-19.   His executive order will determine which businesses will be allowed to reopen.  “This is not going to be a rush the gates” process with everybody going back in business at the same time.

“We must reopen in a way in which we are able to stimulate the economy while at the very same time ensuring that at the same time, we contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Abbott.

He says a component of the process of reopening Texas is adequate COVID-19 testing.

Abbott announced that as of Monday, 286 Texans have lost their lives as a result of COVID-19.  He said more than 133,000 Texans have been tested , and 13,827 have tested positive.  More than 11,000  are hospitalized. In addition, 2,269 Texans who tested positive have fully recovered.

He said there are “glimmers of hope”  and  it appears that the curve in Texas and across the country is beginning to flatten.



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