DALLAS — Dallas council members are trying to implement changes and outlets to help both businesses and their employees. This includes emergency groups.

Mayor Eric Johnson created two ad hoc council committees last week in response to COVID-19. One is for human and social recovery and assistance. The other is for economic recovery and assistance.

Council members Casey Thomas and Paula Blackmon are co-chairs for the economic committee, with Thomas acting as the lead chair. He said they have been working to become a resource people can come to for advice and support.

"Let's focus on first and foremost -- stability," Thomas said in what he wants for local businesses.

Thomas said while there are other organizations and associations providing support, his committee is working to find funding to allow the city to give loans. He said this money will come from the federal government, and his team is currently figuring out how much they need.

Thomas said it will take about 3-6 months for a loan program to be put in place.

"We're in the process of creating a process and making funds available for those who are in need," Thomas said.

Savitree Srisunakorn owns Pakpao Thai in the Design District. She has reduced her staff by 98% with only herself and her executive chef, Kevin Watson, left running the restaurant. This is in large part due to the reduction in customers and revenue.

"Our whole setup has completely changed," Srisunakorn said. "We are now strictly curbside."

If the restaurant isn't able to establish a steady business by April 29, Srisunakorn said the restaurant will be forced to close.

"We're doing this because we want to be able to bring back our employees at the end of the day," Srisunakorn said. "We're working to really keep the doors open in the end."

Pakpao Thai inside
Savitree Srisunakorn has changed her establishment into a fully-functioning curbside restaurant.
Savitree Srisunakorn -- General Manager

Thomas also said his committee is trying to convince the Texas Comptroller's office to waive some of the sales taxes business owners are still having to pay.

"That way they can take their money and at least keep their employees on payroll," Thomas said.

For businesses in need of money quickly, Thomas suggested looking into a loan from the Small Business Administration. You can find that information here.

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