It’s small business’ turn for a hand up.

The state begins extending that hand today with AK CARES, a new program in response to the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus.

The Alaska Department of Commerce will administer the AK CARES financial assistance program, while Credit Union 1 will facilitate it. At present, the program is to provide grants to small businesses that for one reason or another didn’t receive money through the federal Payroll Protection Program.

The state’s program is funded to $290 million.

About 10,000 Alaska businesses received grants through the PPP. Another 5,000 or more are expected to receive state grants.

Specifics about the program are available on the Department of Commerce’s website at

It will be difficult for some small businesses that are used to rolling up their sleeves and working hard to earn their way to apply for a grant. But it will be more difficult economically not to and try to survive the economic conditions created by COVID-19 responses.

This is not the new normal for businesses. It’s a detour on the road to success. The economy will come back, and business will thrive again.

But, businesses have to make it through the current situation in order to be here when times change again and that happens. Times will change. Change can be counted on.