Quad Cities Chamber President and CEO Paul Rumler released a video today calling on the United States Congress to pass a new stimulus bill of covid-19 relief measures to help struggling local businesses and employees. (Paging Cheri Bustos…)

The Chamber released the following statement:

At the Quad Cities Chamber, we believe it is essential to protect the health of all Quad Citizens as well as our livelihoods, and we need legislation that does both. In response to recent input from business leaders and new mitigations in Illinois and Iowa, the Chamber is urging Congress to pass COVID-19 relief measures that provide businesses – employers and employees – the necessary resources to weather and

Paul Rumler

survive this phase of the pandemic.

Specifically, we are asking for:

  • Legislation that provides flexible funding for businesses and organizations to pay for their fixed expenses as well as payroll protections
  • New unemployment benefits to keep our workforce strong

Our local theaters, retailers, bars and restaurants are just a few of the businesses and organizations that need financial support to remain operational through temporary closures and capacity limitations. Without federal funding, some of these businesses may close for good.

Flexible funding for businesses

Throughout the past eight months, the Chamber has been in constant communication with our region’s business leaders to know how COVID-19 is affecting their operations and how our team can help. Many businesses recently told us they are simply struggling to maintain enough revenue to pay monthly fixed costs. Because of this, we are advocating that any new federal relief include flexibility on how funding can be used so the decision on where funds are best spent is left to those paying the bills.

In our latest survey of businesses, done prior to new restrictions in Illinois and Iowa, 35% of respondents said they only had enough cash flow to last another six months; an additional 19% only had enough for 2 months; and sadly, 3% said they would have to temporarily close their doors without additional aid. Additionally, of the companies that have already been forced to lay off employees, 46% said they would not be able to bring staff back in the next 12 months.

We can only assume that with new necessary mitigations being put in place, these unfortunate realities will worsen.

However, with the approval of additional federal relief funding, we can help provide the necessary resources for these businesses to endure times of lower revenue and begin to set a plan in motion to get companies and their employees back to work.

Unemployment benefits

As 2020 comes to an end, millions of workers will soon lose their unemployment benefits. To create a prosperous economy for all throughout our region, we must keep our workforce strong and financially stable while employers operate at limited or no capacity. Congress can ensure that happens by extending unemployment benefits into the new year or enacting new legislation that would provide benefits to all our workers sidelined during the pandemic.

Time is of the essence. Join the Chamber in urging the Quad Cities congressional delegation to pass COVID-19 relief legislation.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.