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Possible loan program would help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 like Avant Travel Agency

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:09 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some financial help could be on the way in Fayette County.

“2019 was probably our best year ever, travel was what everybody wanted to do, the phones ringing, people coming in to see us, just super busy,” Avant Travel Agency Co-Owner Sharon Betts said. “That all came to a screeching halt.”

Along with so many other industries, COVID-19 put the brakes on travel, forcing clients of Avant Travel Agency to push trips out a year, even two years.

“One thing I don’t know if people realize is with the travel business when you book a trip, we don’t see the revenue until after someone travels,” Betts said. “So, that means all these trips that we’ve pushed to next year, we’re not going to see the revenue on those for a long time.”

That mean bills and employees’ salaries can’t be paid.

According to our news partners at the Herald Leader, a loan program being discussed by Lexington Fayette Urban County Council could allot $2.5 million to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

If approved, the small business economic recovery program could grant up to $25,000 to qualifying businesses.

“It would be a big impact for us to help us as a small business,” Betts said. “At this point, it would help us to survive and to maintain the employees we have and to bring those people back that we want to so desperately.”

And, it could be some assurance to keep this local travel agency that’s been in business more than 30 years cruising.

The loan is for businesses in Fayette County with no more than 50 employees and restaurants with no more than 100 employees.

The loan program was unanimously passed Tuesday during a council work session.

City council is expected to take a final vote on May 6.

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