Anchorage COVID-19 task force working on long-term planning

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 2:27 PM AKDT
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It’s been three months since Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz set up the Economic Resiliency Task Force to help businesses navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.

The task force, which is made of business, non-profits and community leaders, is now looking at what’s ahead for the recovery of the community.

Co-chair Julie Saupe says it’s working on long-term planning, which includes what industries will see major changes and where the workforce needs are going to be in the future.

She says it’s also looking to see what happens once the extra $600 in federal unemployment benefits expire on July 25.

"If the funding doesn't continue we will feel it as soon as August or September, so we are hopeful that it will continue and if it doesn't continue from the federal government level, are there places locally and at the state level that we can continue advocating for,” Saupe said.

The Anchorage Assembly recently passed a $21 million relief package that provides funding for the small business and non-profit relief program and the rental and mortgage pilot program.

Some of the industries that could face a longer road to recovery include the tourism, fishing and construction businesses, according to Saupe.

“We are really just trying to find a way for folks to stabilize, whether it's individuals or businesses, long-term we are trying to figure out how long we are going to look next summer, what will be changed in our economy, and where are the needs,” she said.

She says Alaskans can help boost the economy by supporting small businesses that are struggling.

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