ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska small businesses affected by the coronavirus that have already received federal aid will not be eligible for a state grant program.
A plan crafted by the administration of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy in late April excluded previous recipients of federal coronavirus relief funds, The Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.
Alaska’s $290 million small business program scheduled to begin June 1 will be administered by the Alaska Department of Commerce and facilitated by Credit Union 1, the contractor hired by the state.
The program will provide grants that do not have to be repaid. State officials have said they expect the $290 million to assist between 5,000 and 7,000 businesses before the funding runs out.
The program’s rules have been in flux since it was proposed in April. The final standards changed from a preliminary set published last week, including the exclusion of businesses that previously received federal money.
The state had planned to allow those businesses to apply but that is no longer possible, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority said.
The authority is a state-owned corporation under the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
Micaela Fowler, Department of Commerce administrative services director, said that at the time the state’s plan was written, the federal government had not yet enacted a second round of small-business aid.
The exclusion rule “was originally included out of concern for making sure that all Alaskan businesses would have access to some relief,” Fowler said.
The restriction did not change in subsequent versions of the plan and the method used by the Alaska Legislature to ratify the governor’s plan precluded lawmakers from making a change.
The Legislature ended its regular session last week.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.