The Kansas commerce secretary acknowledges business owners are in unprecedented times. But he believes businesses are going to come out on the other side stronger.


“We are going to get through the storm together,” said David Toland, secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce.


He spoke Wednesday to local business people and other officials through Skype, an online telecommunications program.


The event was hosted by Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.


Toland discussed state and federal programs that are available to aid businesses that are struggling during the coronavirus crisis.


He reviewed provisions of the recently passed $2.2 trillion federal stimulus legislation known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.


He said the law provides major changes to unemployment benefits by increasing the amount of money people can receive and expanding eligibility.


Toland also discussed programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to small businesses that can be forgiven if businesses retain employees.


Toland also mentioned economic injury disaster loans offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Toland noted that the $5 million set aside for the state’s Hospitality Industry Relief Emergency loan program quickly became exhausted. He said loans from the program had been awarded to more than 300 businesses in the state. But there still are about 1,200 businesses that applied that have not been allocated money.


Toland said state officials are still accepting applications from hospitality businesses even though no additional money currently is available for the program. He said state officials will do everything to find additional resources.


He also said the applications will help state officials in understanding the need.


Toland encouraged people to read the governor’s stay home order if they have questions about what qualifies as an essential business.


A copy of the order can be found at governor.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EO20-16.pdf


He said people also can email questions about this topic to KEFF@ks.gov


Toland said he has participated in similar teleconferencing events with other business groups around the state.


Jack said about 70 people participated in Wednesday’s Skype session. He said about 300 people, including local business owners and elected officials, were invited to participate.


“I thought it went well,” Jack said.


During the session, Jack read questions that had been submitted to him by participants in advance. Jack said he was able to get through all of the submitted questions during the 30-minute session.


A page on the LCDC website, lvcountyed.org, provides information and links for resources available for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.


The page includes links for programs discussed during Toland’s Skype session.


Jack said LCDC officials frequently update the page.


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR