Top Headlines: More small business help on the way, Business unsure of May 1 restart date

Mnuchin says second deal for small-business loans ‘very close’
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday a deal with Democrats to replenish an emergency small-business loan program is “very close” and Congress could approve additional funding for the program this week. The program designed to keep paychecks going out to workers amid the economic shutdown caused by coronavirus was paused Thursday after it burned through its initial $350 billion. – USA Today

Mercedes-Benz plant extends shutdown to April 27
Mercedes-Benz has once again extended its production halt in Tuscaloosa through April 27. The automaker had planned to resume production next week. The factory halted production on March 23. For the moment, Alabama’s other automakers are looking at resuming production around the same time. –

Some small business owners unsure about state reopening May 1
Governor Kay Ivey set a deadline for a decision on the stay at home order for next week. This comes as much of the country debates on how and when to reopen parts of the economy. In Marshall county, the area is considered to be a hot spot for coronavirus cases in North Alabama. If Governor Ivey decides to follow the suggestion from the small business emergency task force report, many businesses can soon reopen by May 1. – WAAY

Colombia back to exporting coat with Drummond help
From Africa to Asia and Latin America, emerging countries disproportionately bruised by the COVID-19 pandemic are allowing some key industries to start back up in a bid to soften the economic blow. Colombia, the world’s fifth-biggest coal exporter, allowed coal producer Drummond to partially restart on April 9. Coal is Colombia’s second-largest source of foreign exchange, and royalties paid by coal firms are “fundamental” to coping with the health emergency and reviving the economy, its energy ministry said. – Reuters

Fire during severe weather damages Alabama music building
Firefighters battled flames through heavy rain at a University of Alabama building Sunday afternoon. The fire started just after 4 p.m. in the Moody Music Building. Smoke from the roof could be seen from three miles away, and the fire was difficult to tame due to storms in the area. There were no injuries fighting the fire. The building sustained significant smoke and water damage. – WVTM

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Birmingham Civil Rights Institute CEO steps down
The head of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is stepping down. Board Chairman Isaac Cooper announced the resignation of the president and chief executive of the museum, Andrea Taylor, in a statement. Taylor has been in the job since 2015. Talks about a succession plan started before the current coronavirus pandemic, the statement said. – AP

For one Trussville-based company, business has been booming since COVID-19
Before the outbreak, Alabama Bio-Clean received between five and seven phone inquiries a day requesting its biohazard and crisis cleanup services, according to founder and owner Stuart Frandsen. In recent weeks, the company has fielded 20 to 30 such calls per day for coronavirus-related jobs alone, as businesses, individuals and governmental agencies across the state have turned to the outfit and others like it for protection from infection. – MSN

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