EDITOR, Daily News:

The implementation of the CARES Act, which are the funds provided by the federal government to states to combat COVID-19, is constantly evolving. Earlier this month, after three Alaska House Labor and Commerce Committee meetings and hours of public testimony, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development decided to make changes to their grant program. Thank you to everyone who gave public testimony input and helped shape these changes.

The three main changes are: 1) Businesses that received up to $5,000 in PPP/EIDL funds from the Small Business Administration or any amount from municipal grant programs are now eligible to apply for AK CARES funding (including businesses that received over $5,000 originally but returned those excess funds); 2) 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations are now eligible to apply; 3) Commercial fishermen are now eligible to apply.

The third change is particularly beneficial for Southeast Alaska. For commercial fishermen to be eligible, they must hold and fish a limited entry permit or interim use permits from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. Their CFEC Permit acts similar to a business license in this situation.

Although DCCED has agreed to these changes, they do not yet have an effective date for when those changes will be implemented. They are currently working on all internal changes, including creating relevant forms and working with Credit Union 1 on how to best process the applications. We expect the changes to take place within the next few weeks.

Until then, businesses which now are eligible to apply are strongly encouraged to begin determining what expenses they will claim on the AK CARES application and to collect supporting documentationich.

When those changes have officially been made and the new application process is open, I will post on Facebook. I also recommend you reach out to my office if you would like to stay in the loop. You can email me at Rep.Dan.Ortiz@AKLeg.gov.

REP. DANā€ˆORTIZ

House District 36

Ketchikan