The Experience of On The Level, Inc. DBA OTL MechanicalM
It’s easy to imagine the impact of lockdown measures on hotels and restaurants in the USVI. But there are numerous related businesses and providers of services and products that are also taking a blow while the government, industries, and communities try to respond sensibly to the coronavirus pandemic.
OTL Mechanical is just an example. Since 1990, this local business has provided services to hotels and commercial properties in St. Thomas and St. Croix, like construction, plumbing, AC installation and maintenance, fire sprinkler installation, among others, says Office Manager/Business Manager, Mourela Cornelius.
With over 100 employees, OTL Mechanical was in the process of the Marriott rebuild and other ongoing projects in the Virgin Islands. But the lockdown meant a shutdown for them, as there was a halt on construction projects, Cornelius explains. OTL was able to maintain some employees. Some were laid off and were able to apply for unemployment. “It was a big hit,” is how she summarizes it.
Fortunately, On The Level qualified for the Small Business Administration’s Payment Protection Program (PPP). “Thanks to the program, we are bringing back a group of employees for their regular 40-hour week. We are bidding jobs and slowly going back to business,” she adds. “It is going to be a slow process, and it is difficult. We hope for the best.”
Applying for PPP
Cornelius recalls how her contact in Oriental Bank reached out to them regarding the PPP. “We got a link for the application. Initially, it was easy. It was pretty quick. It took two days to get everything ready. It was approved in two or three days”.
“The service at Oriental is really good. They helped with the documentation. They were really involved and helpful. And the turnout was pretty good”, she adds.