On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., the top Democrat on the committee, sent a letter to Jovita Carranza, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), requesting information on the agency’s plan to ensure small businesses are prepared to respond to potential disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Administrator Carranza:
In light of recent developments, we are writing to express our concern about the potential impact that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) could have on U.S. small businesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including the U.S. The CDC anticipates that more cases in the United States are likely to be identified in the coming days and person-to-person spread will likely continue to occur. As the situation continues to evolve, it is becoming clear that the threat of widespread transmission of COVID-19 could have severe economic impacts on small businesses and the U.S. economy as a whole.
For this reason, we urge you to take immediate action to ensure that small businesses and their employees are equipped to prepare for, and respond to, the anticipated spread of COVID-19 in order to reduce both short-term and long-term disruptions. Additionally, we formally request a senior-level staff briefing from SBA no later than Wednesday, March 4, 2020 to provide our offices with answers to the following questions:
- What specific actions has the SBA taken to ensure small businesses are prepared to respond to potential disruptions caused by COVID-19?
- What is the SBA doing to coordinate with other agencies, like the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security, to prepare small businesses and employees to protect employee health and safety?
- What outreach has the SBA conducted to small businesses regarding COVID-19?
- What administrative actions does the SBA expect to take to reduce the burden that COVID-19 could have on small businesses and the overall U.S. economy?
- Is the SBA considering global supply chain issues in this process?
- What additional resources and/or direction from Congress does SBA need to assist in the agency’s response to the potential impact of COVID-19?
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to your prompt response on the agency’s efforts to ensure small businesses are prepared for this emerging public health threat.