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We’ve seen a lot of firsts during this pandemic, from government actions to public reactions.

And journalists have been documenting it all. Take the kind of press releases we have been receiving of late. Here’s part of one I never expected to receive:

“Hi Andy,

“We hope these challenging times treat you and your family nicely.

“There are more than 1 million sex workers who are out of work and cannot get covered by unemployment programs.

“Many of them are left out alone due to changing reality and impossibility to earn money in the usual way, and what is the worst, they have no idea where to seek help and whom to address.”

The news release went on to explain what sex workers in the adult industry are doing during these tough times when social distancing makes it difficult for them to earn a buck.

As for the personalized nature of the press release, that might take some explaining on my part.

“Honestly honey, it was just a press release. I’m sure they got my name from some list server for editors...”

With government paying out trillions of dollars, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that sex workers want their share. Just like payday at the docks, sex workers know the meaning of “stimulus checks.”

With politicians spending money like drunken sailors, why should sex workers be left out in the cold? Just take a look at who is getting money.

There was the aid package Congress passed for higher education. Major public universities received many of the largest shares, including Arizona State University, which was granted $63.5 million. Some wealthy private institutions like Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, which have large endowments to draw from, also received money. However, many turned it down after getting blowback.

A similar outcry resulted when we learned that major companies received emergency aid meant for small businesses. The Shake Shack burger empire said it would return a $10 million loan after facing public anger.

There were 71 publicly traded companies that received funding from the Small Business Administration’s $349 billion emergency Paycheck Protection Program before the money ran out last week, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show.

The program was designed to keep small businesses afloat by incentivizing them to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA was offering two-year loans of up to $10 million carrying 1% interest rates to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, with the principal forgivable if the funds are mostly used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities.

The New York Times reported that these larger companies were able to get first dibs on the funding because many of the banks steered their wealthy clients to the loans and helped them apply.

That left small businesses, which can’t afford lawyers and accountants to wade through all the federal guidelines, to try and get their own paperwork in.

Restaurant chains secured the largest sums from Paycheck Protection Program loans by having restaurants operated by different units apply for separate loans.

It is true that a restaurant chain employs workers just like the mom and pop eatery. But when people think of small businesses they don’t think of Applebee’s. I doubt that how the money was distributed is what Congress had in mind.

The concept behind the paycheck program was like the stimulus checks, to get money flowing in the economy on an individual scale. The average worker at a small business would continue to earn a wage, then go out and spend that money on other goods and services.

Even sex workers can benefit from a program like that.

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Contact Andy Howell at ahowell@pinalcentral.com.

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