Gov. Parson to release guidelines on CARES ACT funding

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JEFFERSON CITY- As local leaders pick up the pieces and chart a path forward to deal with the widespread financial damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, they are getting new guidance from Jefferson City.

At his daily media briefing on Thursday afternoon, Governor Mike Parson announced he is releasing guidelines on how communities should plan to use the CARES act funding they received.

The state received $2.4 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act in April. It distributed the funds to communities according to their population.

"There are a lot of needs competing for those funds," Gov. Parson said. "I want to challenge our community leaders to think about how we can use these funds strategically, not just to help Missourians recover in the short term, but how we can come out of this crisis stronger than before."

Parson said the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of things like access to health care and financial assistance programs for mainstream businesses.

Rob Dixon, Director of the state's Department of Economic Development said communities need to balance the public health response with the economic recovery. He encouraged local leaders to get innovative.

"We certainly want to encourage those communities to support additional testing, contact tracing, and other efforts in their communities to respond to COVID-19," he said. "There's also additional opportunities for training Missourians for high paying and resilient jobs on infrastructure like broadband and telehealth and other things along those those lines."

On Thursday, Dixon offered new statistics on the amount of federal assistance that has been given to businesses in the state:

  • More than 86,000 businesses have gotten loans through the Paycheck Protection Act, which helps them continue to pay their employees. In total,  businesses have received more that $9 billion in assistance from the PPP.
  • More than 8200 small businesses got small businesses economic injury loans. Dixon says they received more than $619 billion in assistance.
  • Another 44,000 businesses got loan advances that Dixon says do not need to be repaid to the Small Business Administration.

Dixon said he and his team are focused on eliminating any barrier that prevents Missourians from getting back to work.