Granite Staters Hardest Hit by Pandemic Applaud Bipartisan Progress on COVID-19 Relief in Congress

December 04, 2020

**Earlier this Week, Shaheen & Hassan Announced New Bipartisan, Bicameral COVID-19 Emergency Relief Framework ** 

**A Senior Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Shaheen Once Again Helped Negotiate Provisions to Assist Small Businesses Impacted by the COVID-19 Crisis**

 

(Washington, DC) – In response to a new bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief framework announced this week by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – who led negotiations on the small business portions – and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a number of Granite Staters representing industries hardest hit by the pandemic applauded progress on the bipartisan work underway in Congress.

New Hampshire officials, nonprofits, small business owners, heath care leaders and others most severely impacted by the pandemic shared the effects of the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis on their communities and livelihoods, and underscored the urgent need for Congress to see through bipartisan efforts to provide emergency assistance. The new proposal announced by Shaheen and Hassan would help American students, families, businesses, workers and health care providers during this crisis. A breakdown of the COVID-19 emergency relief framework can be found here.

Below are testimonials from Granite Staters severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis:

Tom Boucher, CEO – Owner, Great NH Restaurants, Inc.

“The first round of PPP this past April, gave us a bridge to survive until the warmer weather allowed us to expand outdoor dining. We have spent almost $500,000 in COVID related expenses and now our revenue and profitability is dropping dramatically due to the loss of outdoor dining. We need more federal and state funding to get us to this spring when the vaccine will start giving consumers confidence to resume to some sense of normalcy. Once again, Senator Shaheen is leading this bipartisan group of Senators to help the millions of small businesses and in particular, the hospitality industry so badly hurt by this pandemic.”

Commissioner George Magalaras from Strafford County

“The loss of revenue for the operation of county nursing homes, additional costs for PPE, COVID testing expenses, as well as additional revenue losses as a result of governmental shutdowns has greatly impacted county government in NH. Without additional COVID relief funds it could cause an abnormal increase in county property taxes. This COVID relief proposal can make a difference to the county tax payers by helping to make up for revenue shortfalls and keeping property taxes low. It is vital that the federal government take action to assist local governments.”

Clayton Adams, President & CEO, Mascoma Bank

“As our bank works daily to support our customers and New Hampshire’s economy, any additional federal tools that can be used to support small businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic is welcomed and appreciated. We are encouraged to see bipartisan progress towards this end, and we are hopeful Congress and the Administration will continue to work together towards this important goal.”

Michael D. Peterson, FACHE, President & CEO

“The public in this country is in dire need of additional support from its government. If the current relief package is allowed to expire without additional consideration or extensions, it threatens food and housing security, which has the potential to considerably increase the demand for other public services such as mental health and general health care that are already pushed to the breaking point due to the pandemic. 

Rural areas of the country are not immune from these demands, and the reality is that these resources are fewer and farther between.  We fully anticipate the worst days of the pandemic in the weeks ahead, which necessitates passage of a meaningful relief package from Congress to bridge the gap between now and when vaccines will be available to the general public.  At this eleventh hour, as a leader of a critical access hospital, I am pleading with any congressional holdouts to consider the devastating effects that doing nothing for the constituents who support them will have on the basic wellbeing of those in our communities.”

Shaun Mulholland, City Manager in Lebanon

“The impacts of COVID 19 have reduced state and municipal revenues. Assistance from the federal government is critical to mitigating the social and economic impacts on our communities. Although the $160 billion proposal will not meet all of the needs, we thank Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan for their efforts to provide some assistance. If the funding is approved it will definitely make a positive impact.” 

Tim Murphy, Executive Director, Southwest Region Planning Commission

“As the pandemic has progressed, and indeed accelerated, the needs of our communities become more acute. From lost wages, reductions in tourist activity and entertainment, assisting those on the edge financially, addressing homelessness, childcare, substance misuse, broadband connectivity – there becomes a palpable strain that is surely taking a toll.  Federal relief is essential to maintaining a sense of stability and instill confidence as we look toward post-COVID recovery.”

Scott Hayward, owner of Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, NH and member of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)

“We’re very grateful for Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan’s support for the Save Our Stages Act, which we’re desperately hoping will be passed in the next COVID Relief Package this month. Without the SOS Act, 90% of NIVA members report they’ll be forced to shutter forever. If that happens, not only will these small businesses go bankrupt through no fault of their own, but also gone are all the jobs, artists coming to town, and the financial benefit we bring to our communities.  A study last year showed that for every $1 spent at small music venues, $12 of economic activity was generated for area businesses. If the Save Our Stages Act passes, we can be part of the economic renewal for New Hampshire and the nation.”

Charyl Reardon, President, White Mountains Attractions Association

“The White Mountains Attractions, many family-owned, are a blood line for New Hampshire’s tourism economy. Our attractions support smaller businesses like local inns, restaurants, and gas stations and provide good jobs for local families. Unfortunately, CARES act relief funds and revenues limited by attendance restrictions and operating days have been inadequate, resulting in furloughs/layoffs and financial hardship for many because these businesses are seasonal and unable to be reopened until summer of 2021. We need an additional comprehensive relief package that includes PPP grants and small business loans right away. Without such a package, I’m concerned that the White Mountains region will lose some of its major attractions and ability to draw visitors who support the local economy.  

We support the Covid-19 relief package prepared by the bipartisan congressional group that includes Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan and are grateful for their efforts to provide a package aimed at helping the tourism industry, states, small businesses, and our citizens get the assistance they need, right now.”

Kathleen Cavalaro, Executive Director, Seacoast Repertory Theatre

“It's been a hard year for the performing arts. Added costs and reduced audiences are not a recipe for success in a business that is hard on a good day. We're used to adversity in our industry - money is always tight and the margins are always thin. This is tighter and thinner than we've ever experienced in recent memory. We're no strangers to changing with the times and adapting, but this is extraordinary. The arts are an important economic and cultural engine, and always have been. We urge lawmakers to look at the numbers, the jobs, the benefits, and the humanity behind it all. We are just looking for a way to survive to the next normal day so we can continue to do what we do. If the national community invests in us now, it will be paid back with dividends.”

Jessyca Keeler, President, Ski New Hampshire

“Relief funds that were made available through the CARES act made an enormous difference in whether or not ski areas were able to retain employees over the spring and summer months, when normal revenue streams such as season pass sales and events came to a grinding halt. Those funds typically help cover payroll for the non-skiing months. As we approach a winter that will witness limitations on skier capacity, there is much concern in the industry that there will again be a need for financial assistance to help keep ski areas afloat, which are the financial engines in rural parts of the state.”