GREAT FALLS — On Monday at The Celtic Cowboy in downtown Great Falls, U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) hosted a news conference to talk to business owners about the new federal Covid relief bill.
The event was held to discuss The American Rescue Plan and specifically, how it will help businesses in and around Great Falls.
The American Rescue Plan is designed to provide funding for direct relief to Americans, to safely reopen schools, and to mount a national vaccination program and contain the Covid 19 virus. It will also provide additional relief for small businesses and hard-hit industries.
“The American Rescue Plan includes a projected $20 million that goes directly to the City of Great Falls to cover the costs of this pandemic, including plugging revenue gaps, and keeping cops and firefighters out on the beat,” said Tester. “This plan has $63 billion for existing and new Covid relief programs to aid a wider range of small businesses, particularly in the hospitality and entertainment industries that have been hit incredibly hard by this pandemic.”
Tester talked with business and economic leaders in Great Falls about how the rescue plan will impact their businesses directly, and what it will take for it to be successful in Montana. He said the package includes support for healthcare and housing, as well as for small businesses, farmers, and ranchers. He also touched on the importance of vaccinating people as soon as possible, adding that Montana is already seeing the results with more and more people getting vaccinated more and more quickly.
Participants at the event included City Commissioner Mary Moe, Great Falls Development Authority CEO Brett Doney, and the owner of The Celtic Cowboy and The Hotel Arvon, Peter Jennings.
The three talked about how they hope the American Rescue Plan will aid their businesses and the City of Great Falls.
“I was happy to see restaurant-specific aid in the bill and I have been in touch with my banker because that’s really the main relationship, obviously you have to satisfy all of their requirements and check all the boxes, and I think they’re still waiting on guidance to know exactly the numbers we’re suppose to provide and what the formula is, so still waiting on that,” said Jennings.
Montana is expected to receive about $2.7 billion from The American Rescue Plan and the state Legislature is responsible for determining how to allocate about $910 million of that funding.