Kansas starts loan program to aid bars, restaurants, motels

Blurred Image Of Inside A Restaurant

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas on Friday launched a new program to provide short-term, no-interest loans to bars, restaurants, taverns and motels struggling to cover operating expenses because of the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

The program announced by Gov. Laura Kelly and state Commerce Secretary David Toland will make up to $5 million in loans, though Toland said the amount could grow larger. The program will supplement federal Small Business Administration loans that Kansas expects to become available within days.

Kelly had a Statehouse news conference with Toland, other state officials and representatives of business groups to acknowledge the economic problems caused by steps by the state and local communities to control the spread of the new coronavirus. Some communities, including Kansas City-area suburbs, Topeka, and Lawrence, have told businesses to stop allowing dine-in services.

Kansas Labor Secretary Delia Garcia said the state has received more than 11,000 initial unemployment claims this week, a 524% increase over last week’s figure.

Kansas has confirmed more than 30 coronavirus cases and has had one COVID-19-related death. The vast majority of infected people recover but the virus can lead to serious illnesses in some people, particularly older adults and people with underlying health conditions.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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