Change in COVID-19 emergency status may affect businesses

The U.S. national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic is ending earlier than some initially thought.
Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 11:59 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The U.S. national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic is ending earlier than some initially thought, and it could affect hospitals and businesses, but maybe not your health.

“It’s not that COVID has gone away, as much as we all wish it would have,” Doctor Bill Petri with UVA Health said.

Dr. Petri says the change is not directed at hospitals, but what was instituted under the emergency.

“One of the things that was done was to actually relax the number of hours of training that a nurse assistant had to have in a nursing home. And so some of that will go back to requiring more and more training,” the doctor said.

A big change will come to businesses.

“The end of the PPP, the idle loans, it certainly has an impact, as well as people now have to start repaying those idle loans. So that’s making a difference,” Central Virginia Small Business Development Director Rebecca Haydock said. “The challenges still remain: Risk capital is harder to come by, the banks are tightening their belts a bit.”

Haydock says businesses who have not been able to adapt during the pandemic are the ones closing.

“We’ve got a lot of technology companies and new product & service companies that are building their business models in new ways. Folks are educating themselves like they never have before with access to online learning and online tools,” Haydock said.

She says she is still seeing an increasing number of startup businesses.

“We thought that would slow down. This startup explosion in 2020 and 2021 was really surprising. It’s still trending high,” Haydock said.

While she says she has seen a reduction in loans, there is some hope ahead as the emergency ends.

“Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $123 million that is available to those that already have loans and need more interim relief,” Haydock said.

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