Jackson businesses that have suffered losses amid the Mississippi capital city’s ongoing water crisis will be able to apply for as much as $2 million in federal Economic Injury Disaster loans, Gov. Tate Reeves announced Wednesday.
The U.S. Small Business Administration swiftly approved a Small Business Administrative Declaration for Jackson, opening the door for businesses to access the loans, after the governor requested one on Monday.
“These low-interest loans will go a long way to support our Jackson businesses and help them make it through the ongoing water crisis,” Reeves said in a statement Wednesday. “I’m committed to ensuring that we both restore clean water to the city and relieve the burdens of this crisis for Jacksonians.”
Since July 29, Jackson has been under a boil-water notice, forcing businesses in the capital city to make costly changes in operations, especially in hospitality businesses like hotels and restaurants.
The situation only grew more dire for residents and business owners alike on Aug. 29, when failures at the city’s main water treatment plant resulted in a loss of running water citywide. With the help of emergency state and federal resources, water pressure resumed a week later, but the boil water notice remained in place until today, costing some businesses thousands a week.
In his request Monday, Reeves said “daycare centers were forced to limit or eliminate services because they could not keep their facilities clean” and “hotels saw a severe drop in reservations due to the unavailability of water for patrons.”
Reeves previously requested and President Joe Biden approved a federal emergency declaration for Jackson, allowing the federal government to come in and assist the City with the most urgent repairs to its water system.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans can provide Jackson businesses with up to $2 million “help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” the agency’s website says. The loan amount is based on “actual economic injury” and the company’s financial needs.
Businesses in Hinds County and the following contiguous counties will be able to apply for the federal loans: Claiborne, Copiah, Madison, Rankin, Simpson, Warren and Yazoo. The deadline to apply is June 14, 2023. Reeves’ statement directs applicants to apply online at the SBA website or to contact SBA for more information by phone at (800) 659-2955 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After this story first published, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced on Thursday afternoon that the Mississippi State Department of Health had lifted Jackson’s boil-water notice for the first time since July 29.
See the Mississippi Free Press’ full Jackson water-crisis coverage, starting in March 2021.