By Andrew Cremata

The CARES Act community assistance program passed unanimously at last night’s Assembly Meeting. A lot of work went into ensuring the program is minimally intrusive into the lives of residents while still satisfying the demands of CARES Act requirements.

Skagway is the only community in Alaska rolling out a community assistance program on this scale, and it took a lot of hard work from our Assembly and Municipal Staff. Full details will be available shortly but the intent of this program is to help residents and businesses by providing direct financial assistance. Living essentials come first but please spend additional funds locally. We have to work together and support local businesses. Our survival as a community depends on it.

Help is also coming to support local small businesses. Some of the CARES money is earmarked for yet another program. Details are being worked out. Some of the other ideas presented at last night’s meeting are already in the works. Thanks for being patient – dealing with pandemic health protocols and CARES Act funding has taken up a ridiculous amount of time.

Small business owners: I heard you loud and clear. Next week, I’m going to explore any and all avenues to help small businesses. Last night, one small business owner asked that we “think outside of the box.” Our unique situation demands such an approach, so it’s time to contact our government reps and financial institutions and figure out a way to develop a plan that helps businesses survive until 2021 AND helps some of our year-round businesses stay open this winter. This isn’t going to be easy but I plan on exhausting all options.

Yesterday, a cruise industry rep told me that 2021 in Skagway is shaping up to be FAR better than anyone would have expected just two weeks ago. This is the first good news I’ve heard in three months. We are going to make it to April of 2021 but we will only succeed if we lift each other up.

Andrew Cremata is the Mayor of the Municipality of Skagway.