Amid growing closures and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) recently sent letters to each of the fifty governors requesting that they keep recreational fishing opportunities and businesses open as much as possible.
The letters were delivered to the governors’ offices on Friday, March 27.
“In no way do we want to stand in the way of states’ efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and we recognize that in certain cases fishing access restrictions are warranted,” said Mike Leonard, ASA’s vice president of Government Affairs. “In general, ASA believes that recreational fishing should be promoted as a safe outdoor activity compatible with physical distancing guidelines.”
“Given that recreational fishing provides health benefits associated with being outdoors, and a source of food for many individuals, we support state efforts to maintain fishing opportunities while keeping physical distance, and to allow sportfishing businesses to stay open as much as possible,” said Leonard.
ASA is monitoring state parks and fisheries agencies responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing updates on its website through an interactive map. In addition, ASA is working with states to have recreational fishing-related businesses be considered “essential” and therefore allowed to remain open in some form to help facilitate fishing opportunities for the public.
COVID-19 Relief Bill Signed into Law
On Friday, March 27, President Trump signed into law a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to provide relief to Americans and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
Notably for small businesses, the CARES Act includes $350 billion for a new Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses make payroll and cover expenses from February 15, to June 30. If the employer maintains the payroll, the loan would be forgiven.
The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has prepared a guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.
Companies who are in need of a quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover immediate needs are encouraged to explore the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
ASA is currently working with the SBA to set up a conference call in the near future with ASA members to explain the Paycheck Protection Program and other economic assistance opportunities. ASA will provide an update as soon this call is scheduled.