Signal recently hosted a webinar for the three San Antonio Chambers of Commerce – the Hispanic, North and South Chambers – featuring Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28).
The webinar focused on the recent CARES Enhancement funding officially signed into law by the President on April 24, 2020, and what the San Antonio business community should consider as Texas and the rest of the country focuses on re-opening post-pandemic. The eight-term South Texas Representative sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee, helping facilitate federal funding for a slew of programs and agencies impacting constituents in Texas and across the entire United States. In addition to Representative Cuellar and his staff, the list of other panelists included San Antonio Hispanic Chamber President Juan Ayala, North Chamber President Cristina Aldrete, South Chamber President Al Arreola, as well as Signal’s Managing Director Noe Garcia, Managing Director Patrice Willoughby, Executive Vice President Sarah Hamlett, and Executive Vice President Blake Androff.
At the start of the webinar, Congressman Cuellar circulated his COVID-19 handbook of all the available resources and programs in place during these uncertain times. The handbook broke down each of the funding buckets now created by the CARES Act and added the appropriate state-related links for the Texas audience. San Antonio, the seventh-most populous city in the United States and second-largest city in Texas, recently celebrated its 302-year anniversary, but the city’s strong history and sense of community will be forever disrupted and changed by the coronavirus pandemic.
One-out-of-five dollars spent in San Antonio is traced back to tourism (conventions, the Alamo, the River Walk, Military City U.S.A., etc). With COVID-19 cancelling large-scale gatherings and travel, the city of San Antonio and Bexar County (where the city lies) are facing tremendous revenue shortfalls and seeing major spikes in unemployment. Many businesses on the webinar voiced concerns to the Congressman and panelists about their difficulties obtaining PPP money, understanding the conditions of various SBA loan programs, liabilities to consider ahead of re-opening, hazard pay, and other timely topics. Noe Garcia, a San Antonio native, feels compelled to help his home community and other cities across the country facing unprecedented operational challenges amidst the pandemic—putting together webinars, calls, and other materials for municipalities at this tenuous time.
As we did before the outbreak, the Signal team will continue to collaboratively counsel and assist local governments, businesses, non-profits, and other associations vying for survival and hoping to adapt to new conditions.