SBA Announces Loan Distribution; County Reduces 97439 COVID-19 Number; Chamber Hours; High Traffic Worries County Health Officials

SBA Announces Loan Distribution

The shutdown of business and social events in March due to the coronavirus had a huge impact on employment and threatened the economic future of Florence.  Saving grace came through in the form of Payroll Protection Plans initiated by the federal government.  The PPP loan was made available to businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Recent numbers were released for Florence that showed 240 businesses in the 97439 zip code benefitted from the loans.  8 local and regional banks were instrumental in processing the loans with Oregon Pacific Bank at the top of the list loaning more than 4.5 million dollars.  Tallies on banking numbers were released yesterday by the Small Business Administration.  When the loans were first issued recipients had 8 weeks to spend their funds but that was later extended to 24 weeks due in part to the sustained effect the coronavirus had on businesses.  Businesses that have not previously applied for a PPP loan can still do so until August 8th.

County Reduces 97439 COVID-19 Number

9 new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Lane County bringing the total number of cases to 324.  The county has now exceeded 30 thousand tests conducted and there are 48 currently considered infectious, resting at home with 3 hospitalizations.  Lane County Public Health has also updated its numbers for the 97439 zip code and has reduced the number by 1  changing the count to 11.  There was no reason given for the change.  Coast Radio has reached out to LCPH for details.  There were a total of 282 new cases across the state for a total of 13,081 and 4 new deaths bringing the death toll to 247, all had underlying health conditions.

Chamber Hours

The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has reopened their doors for limited hours on Monday through Saturday from 11 to 3.  They have arranged the space to work within the new rules for social distancing.  Volunteers will greet guests through Plexiglas and verbally help them with information, but will not be personally handing out brochures.  Executive Director Bettina Hannigan says there is also a strict “if you touch it, take it” policy

High Traffic Worries County Health Officials

With Coronavirus cases on a constant upswing in the state, Lane County public health officials are expressing concern with the amount of travel that is happening, especially when it comes to visitors to the coast.  Traffic levels are not waning despite a strong emphasis from Lane County to stay home.  11 cases are currently being reported for the 97439 area and that is why LCPH information director says following guidelines is essential.

“That’s why masking, social distancing, keeping your travel and your social gatherings as limited as humanly possible is so important.”

Davis says without the public’s help it is nearly impossible for county health officials to do their job.

“Unfortunately we are just not seeing the general community and people from outside the area traveling to Florence abiding by the recommendations to a level that is going to keep us safe.”

He says that if the community doesn’t take this outbreak seriously, we could see the virus grow through community spread which would be dangerous for individuals and devastating for businesses, as the possibility of returning to a phase one status, or shutting down completely could be a very real possibility.