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Gov. Herbert announces task force to help businesses struggling amid COVID-19

Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 20:00:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The economic impact of the coronavirus is taking a toll on Salt Lake City businesses and its employees.

On Monday, and Governor Gary Herbert and local business leaders announced the creation of a task force that will focus on helping businesses impacted by COVID-19.

"If, in fact, you've lost your job because of the situation, or your hours have been reduced, there is help available through the Department of Workforce Services," Herbert said at a news conference Monday.

More than 90 percent of the 17,000 licensed businesses in Salt Lake City are small businesses. Gov. Herbert said there is help available for them too.

"The government has a role to play. We’re going to make sure the government plays its role effectively and does everything possible to protect the health and safety and welfare and people of Utah," Herbert said.

In a recent survey, 76 percent of businesses reported revenue losses of more than 10 percent.

Utah's hospitality industry is also taking considerable losses.

"Thus far, we have had seven confirmed cancellations of citywide conventions and events for a total loss of more than $45 million in direct delegate spending," said Visit Salt Lake CEO Kaitlin Eskelson.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she will ask the city council for $1 million to help local businesses offset the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-10 pandemic.

"I have one message: We are here for you. We have been devastated as a city to hear about our business interruption that's happening in our community and the very personal impacts on our residents," Mendenhall said.

Continue to watch FOX 13 and for further updates.