SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State finance officials started accepting applications Wednesday for low-interest loans that are designed to help small businesses endure the financial stress of the coronavirus pandemic.
Legislation approved in June sets aside up to $400 million in state trust funds for loans to individual businesses of up to $75,000 each.
Eligibility is limited to businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue. Applicants also must show a 30% decline in monthly revenue in April and May versus a year ago.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called the loan program a cornerstone of the state's response to the economic crisis. The New Mexico Finance Authority administers the new loan program.
In other news, Albuquerque zoo facilities will partially reopen next week to visitors wearing face masks or other face coverings after being closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Outdoor exhibitis of the ABQ BioPark Zoo will reopen Aug. 12 but indoor facilities such as the reptile and crocodile buildings will remain closed to the public, Mayor Tim Keller announced in a statement.
High-touch attractions such as the carousel and trains will not operate and daily public feedings and shows that draw crowds remain canceled temporarily.
Current statewide health orders prohibit indoor restaurant service, require face masks in public, ban public gatherings of more than four people and have suspend classroom attendance at public schools until at least early September.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new COVID-19 cases in New Mexico has declined slightly over the past two weeks, going from 275 new cases per day on July 21 to 233 new cases per day on Aug. 4, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Comparing seven-day averages of new cases smooths out anomalies in the data, including delays in test results.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.