Asa Hutchinson: Nearly 300 Companies Seek Quick Action Loans

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that he expects $3 million in state loans related to the COVID-19 outbreak to be distributed to Arkansas businesses early next week. 

So far, 275 applications have been received for loans through the Quick Action Loan Program, which the governor created with money from his quick action fund, typically reserved for economic development projects. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission administers the program.

The program allows small- to medium-sized companies to apply for a loan or loan guaranty of up to $250,000. Direct lending is also available.

The program is prioritizing companies that are in the supply chain of essential goods and services, including health care, food manufacturing and logistics.

Hutchinson also announced that, as of Friday, 27,250 unemployment claims had been filed. And he has requested a federal disaster declaration for Arkansas.

In other news, the state had recorded 523 COVID-19 cases, including the first cases recorded in Columbia, Newton and Perry counties, and eight deaths. Of those 523 patients, 64 are hospitalized and 23 are on ventilators. State officials said 35 people had recovered from COVID-19.

The governor said Arkansas has fewer cases at this time than had previously been projected. Had the number of cases following models, the state would have closer to 1,000 cases, and Hutchinson said being under that projected trend line indicates success with the public following guidelines that include practicing social distancing.

Video of the Press Briefing

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Hutchinson said his administration is considering how to curtail out-of-state visitors from coronavirus “hot spots” who are not practicing sufficient social distancing during activities at national and state parks in Arkansas.

Hutchinson said he may have to close frequently visited state parks and is working with the National Forestry Service on what to do about out-of-state crowds at the Buffalo River. The governor noted that he has asked Stacy Hurst, the secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, for suggestions on which parks to consider closing.