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Ways Utah businesses can receive help during the coronavirus outbreak

When it became clear that changes in lifestyle and the economic climate of Utah were needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses in the Beehive State were feeling the pressure. Non-essential business closures or slowdowns, requests for people to stay home and potential crises such as layoff or furloughs have become the reality for many businesses.

The good news to remember is that Utah’s economy was strong before the coronavirus measures, so the state is thought to be in a better position than others in the country. Utah Governor Gary Herbert characterized himself as optimistic about the state’s recovery, thanks to its preparedness and support from the public.

“This economic downturn is just another difficult challenge we’re going to address and deal with and triumph,” Gov. Herbert said.

During this unprecedented time in Utah history, we offer this advice from a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune to find some ways to get relief. The article answers a series of common questions on what Utah business owners and residents can do when their livelihoods have been disrupted:

Scenario: You were part of a layoff or were sent home with no options for income.
Unemployment benefits are an option if you have been employed for more than 15 months and are able to work. You can apply even if you intend to return to the current company for which you work. The site to get more info is: jobs.utah.gov/covid19.

The site offers details from the state’s Department of Workforce Services, including FAQs on unemployment insurance, recruitment support to meet demand as needed, child care assistance, food assistance, energy bill programs and the best ways to contact the state’s employment centers.

One interesting fact: Utah’s unemployment compensation trust has more than $1 billion and is one of the most solvent in the U.S.

Scenario: You had to shut down your business

There’s a site run by the Salt Lake Chamber’s task force on coronavirus that has details on major aid programs that have been put in place: coronavirus.utah.gov/business. The site also states that the federal government has put assistance for small and medium businesses in its Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as well as more on the loans available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

If you are still in business providing an essential service, the chamber’s site also has a list of best business practices to reference during this difficult time. Among them are tips on what to say to employees who believe they may have coronavirus and those who feel well and want to stop the spread of the pandemic. Both include calls to perform hand hygiene and to clean any surfaces that may be “high-touch.”Other advice includes striving to remain in a space with good air flow, maintaining a healthy diet and getting exercise, and maintaining distances in a tight working environment.

Scenario: You are worried about your business property mortgage or rent

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country’s two largest property lenders, have suspended foreclosures and evictions for 60 days as of mid-March. The Utah Banking Association also said it will be deferring mortgage payments and offering relief for fees or loans. Contact us at First Utah Bank for more details.

For renters, a plan was still taking shape by late March, but it was said to include a temporary halt on tax liens and shut-offs.

Scenario: You don’t know how to pay your tax bill

The U.S. Treasury announced in late March that deadline for taxes to filed was extended to July 15, something that the state of Utah is also doing for its own taxation plans.

Our bank’s efforts for Utah during the coronavirus situation
At First Utah Bank, please know that our No. 1 priority is the well-being of the people in our community, including clients, families and everyone with which we live and work. We’re looking at the situation daily, remaining vigilant and following all recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and local authorities. It’s all a part of the bank-wide response plan we created to answer concerns related to the coronavirus.

Our branches remain open at this time, with drive-through service available. If you need to come in to the lobby for service, please let us know and we would be happy to assist. Even with the branches staying open, there are also online banking options to access accounts, including mobile options. You can learn more about all the ways First Utah Bank can help during this time at our website.