With the economy of the Virgin Islands essentially shut down, hundreds of small business owners are struggling and thousands of people are out of a job.
Through federal aid and unemployment assistance some people are getting the help they need, but with millions of Americans in the same boat, the process isn’t going nearly fast enough for those who need the financial help now.
The VI government says they’re doing everything in its power to get relief to the people of the Virgin Islands as quickly as possible.
USVI News has learned that 240 businesses throughout the territory have been approved for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, through the Small Business Association. The approved amount coming to the territory so far stands at $62,242,612.
All of the original funding for small businesses under the PPP loans is all spent. The federal government is expected to approve $350 Billion in new small business loans/aid sometime this week.
“Even though of it is run out, we are assured by the delegate and other members of Congress that they’re going to be refunding that. We’re looking to see something come out this week on that so that don’t stop the process, if you’re filling out the application don’t be discouraged, wherever you are in the process continue with it because they’re putting some more money in that,” said USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr..
As far as unemployment, staff at the VI Department of Labor has been working overtime to address the massive surge in unemployment claims.
Leaders say the staff is dedicated, working hard throughout this Coronavirus pandemic to expedite claims and get assistance to the thousands of people who desperately need it.
Governor Bryan says the VI government is trying to bring relief to unemployed people in the territory as quickly as possible, “Departments such as employment insurance have received more claims in one month than they do in an entire year, but we have brought on the help and are doing our best to get checks out as quickly as possible”
The number of people who have filed unemployment assistance claims in the U.S. Territory is not available.
However, Tuesday afternoon, the VI Department of Labor provided USVI News with the latest information about how many claims they’ve processed; a total of about 1,064 checks have been processed totaling $720,143, as of Tuesday afternoon.