GRAB AND GO - Library patron Tina Johnson, left, and Joanna Perensovich, information services librarian, wear masks in the Sitka Library this afternoon. The library no longer has couches for patrons, but does have computer desks widely spaced apart for people to access for one-hour periods. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Paycheck Protections Rule Now Includes Fish Crew

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of Alaska’s Congressional delegation are applauding a rule released by the Department of Treasury and Small Business Administration Thursday that will allow commercial fishing businesses to account for crew member payroll when applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Alaska Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, also hailed passage of the new rules, and said he would work with the Alaska delegation to extend the deadline for applications.

Under the new rules, fishing businesses have until June 30 to apply for the PPP loans.

In their joint news release Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young, all Republicans, said they had been pressing the Trump administration for the change and had sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Administrator Jovita Carranza to request the solution that was published Thursday.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has provided direct relief, truly a lifeline, to Alaskan businesses to help weather the storm during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Murkowski said in the news release. “Unfortunately, many of our fisherman, the ultimate small businesses, were unintentionally left out of the mix due to the Treasury Department’s earlier interpretation of eligible payroll costs. I thank the Treasury Department for working with the delegation to ensure that fishermen have the same opportunity to fully take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program that so many American businesses have already benefited from. Enabling fishermen to secure the resources they need through PPP is not only fair, it means that these businesses so critical to Alaska have a fighting chance to stay afloat.”

The news release explained that before today’s fix these businesses were not fully able to take advantage of the PPP because of the Department of Treasury’s previous treatment of fishing crew members as self-employed independent contractors.

“Even though these crew members are functionally employees, the previous rules did not allow commercial fishing businesses to account for their employees’ wages when calculating payroll costs when applying for a PPP loan. This led to reduced loan amounts. Today’s rule allows these businesses to account for their crew member’s wages when applying for a PPP loan,” the delegation said.

In a statement from his office today, Stedman said he will “continue working with lenders and leaders to extend the deadline for those businesses who recently became eligible under this rule.”

“Many folks are currently out on the fishing grounds and will not be able to apply for this relief,” Stedman said. “My office will work with the Congressional delegation to seek an extension” beyond June 30.

 

 

 

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-10-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of noon Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 51

Total statewide – 1,323

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 5 (2 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 13 (11 resident; 2 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 80.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 

 

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Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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