In Response to COVID-19, Tester Announces Economic Disaster Assistance for 30 Montana Counties

Senator: “We’ve got to give our state’s small businesses every tool in the tool box to weather this storm.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) declared an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for 30 Montana counties in response to the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which will provide much-needed economic support for Montana’s main street businesses.

The affected counties are: Flathead, Gallatin, Missoula, Sheridan, Silver Bow, Wheatland, Beaverhead, Broadwater, Daniels, Deer Lodge, Fergus, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Park, Pondera, Powell, Ravalli, Roosevelt, Sanders, Sweet Grass, and Teton.

“Montana’s main street businesses are the backbone of our rural communities, and this declaration will help quickly provide them with relief in the face of this outbreak,” said Tester. “I was proud to vote for this funding, and I’m going to keep fighting to make sure Congress doesn’t leave rural communities behind. We’ve got to give our state’s small businesses every tool in the tool box to weather this storm.”

Under the Tester-backed Phase I COVID-19 legislative package signed into law in early March, the SBA can issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas to provide relief from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Senator Tester has led the charge on pushing the Trump Administration to make sure that vulnerable Montanans-in particular seniors, folks with disabilities, and direct care providers-have access to information about test kits, proper protection, and the spread of COVID-19. He has introduced legislation to guarantee testing for the virus will be at zero cost, passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to ensure veterans GI benefits are protected during the outbreak, and he is working to extend the IRS tax filing deadline. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff, and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.