On March 25, 2020, after several days of deliberations, the U.S. Senate approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a massive legislative package that includes $2 trillion in funding for businesses, individuals and the health care industry. This is the third, and largest by far, measure in Congress aimed at addressing the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill is expected to be taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, March 27.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has been closely monitoring the development of the CARES Act and urges its enactment and implementation as soon as possible. We are pleased that the bill includes several important provisions that will help sportfishing businesses, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers and charter boat operators, who have been or are expecting to be negatively impacted by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, the CARES Act includes $350 billion for small business loans administered by the Small Business Administration under the new Paycheck Protection Program. Loans of up to $10 million may be provided for eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small businesses (generally those under 500 employees) who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.

The CARES Act also includes numerous tax provisions, including credits and deferrals, aimed at assisting small businesses during this emergency.

A summary of key provisions in the CARES Act can be found here.

ASA will continue to provide updates on this and other relief measures, including information on how to access the Paycheck Protection Program when it becomes available.

We are keenly aware of the current and future negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sportfishing industry. We are actively tracking various closures and restrictions to businesses and fishing access, and encouraging elected officials to balance public safety and maintaining fishing opportunities. Recreational fishing provides an ideal means for individuals to get outdoors and boost their physical and mental health in a way that doesn’t necessitate close contact with others.

Please visit ASA’s COVID-19 Resources for the Sportfishing Industry webpage, where we provide a wide range of resources to assist ASA members in staying informed and updated on the latest COVID-19 developments that impact your business.