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The North Country Chamber of Commerce is welcoming agreement in Washington on a new $900 billion federal package of COVID-19 relief, including a second round of the PPP (Payroll Protection Plan) forgivable loan program for small businesses and non-profits.
"This new round of the PPP forgivable loan program will be crucial to helping hundreds of small businesses in the North Country who have managed to keep going this long but require added support to make it through the coming months," states Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "Our aim from the start has been to do everything possible to leave no business behind. We believe our commitment to a steady flow of information, guidance, assistance and advocacy, adjusted along the way, has helped, as has the incredible support of North Country residents who have shown their commitment to spending local. But while the arrival of the vaccines provides great hope, it will take some months to reach the vaccination levels needed, while travel remains limited and border restrictions remain in place. For this reason, a new round of PPP has been our top priority in Washington, reinforced day in and day out since last summer. In the end, we thank Congresswoman Stefanik and Senator Schumer for their personal accessibility to us through this process and for their support of the agreement now at hand."
Douglas also welcomed inclusion "of targeted support for theaters, independent cinemas and museums. These are an especially important part of communities across the North Country and we need them to survive and thrive into the future. We're pleased that key elements of the Save Our Stages bill sponsored by Schumer, Stefanik and others have been incorporated into this agreement. And we also applaud the inclusion of new federal resources for broadband development. This pandemic has made it crystal clear that broadband access is not a convenience but a modern necessity. We expect further federal broadband resources will come in an expected Infrastructure Bill in 2021."
The Chamber also welcomed inclusion of  funding to help stabilize major transit systems, including the MTA, "which is important to the future of our region's transportation equipment producers, along with much needed additional support for our hospitals, schools and colleges who continue to face enormous fiscal challenges."  
The North Country Chamber of Commerce will be organizing an informational webinar on the new and improved PPP program as soon as possible and will also continue to provide information to the region through it's "Today's Dose" e-newsletters.    

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