Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is asking the federal government to step in and help Jackson businesses overcome economic hardships caused by the capital city’s ongoing water crisis.
In a letter to U.S. Small Business Director Kem R. Fleming, the governor requested a Small Business Administrative Declaration, which would open the doors for businesses in Hinds County to obtain funds through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
“Jackson businesses have been hit incredibly hard by the ongoing water crisis,” the governor said in a statement Monday. “They have shown their resilience and their commitment to this city throughout the years, and my administration will continue to do everything it can to support them during this difficult time.”
Since July 29, Jackson has been under a boil-water notice, forcing businesses in the capital city to make costly changes in operations, especially in hospitality businesses like hotels and restaurants.
“First, you’re gonna have to start a couple hours early,” John Tierre, the owner of Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues in Downtown Jackson, told the Mississippi Free Press in mid-August. “That’s already labor in itself, whatever you’re paying per hour. You gotta get in and start boiling water for everything that you’re gonna be using in service. …
“Not only do we have to boil water just to wash dishes, for the bar, for glasses, but there’s the $200 or $300 a day in ice purchases, canned sodas, bottled water, things of that nature.”
The situation only grew more dire for residents and business owners alike on Aug. 29, when failures at the city’s main water treatment plant resulted in a loss of running water citywide. With the help of state and federal resources, water pressure resumed a week later, but the same issues Tierre was dealing with throughout August are still present because the city remains under a boil water notice.
The governor’s statement on Monday noted that “daycare centers were forced to limit or eliminate services because they could not easily keep their facilities clean. With little to no running water throughout the city, businesses could not serve, clean, cool or
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