COVID-19 Small Business Resources & Loans

Topics: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s been necessary for governors and federal officials to take drastic measures. Many of these actions already have been devastating to small businesses. The good news is federal and state governments are ready to help small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis to help reduce the economic disruption they face. 


The federal government just passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act , a sweeping relief package assisting small businesses with loans and grants. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled information on how the CARES Act will assist small businesses.

The CARES Act offers offers a variety of programs and initiatives designed to assist small businesses during these uncertain times, including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans, Small Business Debt Relief Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Emergency Economic Injury Grants (EEIG), free counseling for small business owners and low-cost training regarding COVID-19.

Unfortunately, as of April 16, 2020, the SBA announced that the initial $349 billion Congress allocated for PPP loans had been depleted. However, Congress passed a new bill on April 24, providing an additional $310 billion in relief for small businesses with $60 billion set aside for small lenders, another $60 billion in SBA disaster loans, $75 billion in grants for hospitals, and an additional $25 billion to increase testing for COVID-19. The funds became available on April 27.

On June 5, the Payment Protection Program Flexibility Act was signed into law to address some of the concerns small business owners had about the initial program. The PPPFA includes:

  • Changes the amount of the loan needed for payroll from 75% to 60% 
  • Extends the time period to use funds from 8 to 24 weeks, allowing businesses to have until the end of 2020 to use the funds
  • Pushes back the deadline to rehire workers from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020
  • Eases rehire requirements by extending the rehire date and providing additional exceptions for a reduced headcount
  • Extends the repayment term from two to five years in the event loans or portions of them are not forgiven

SBA loans became available the week of April 6. Small businesses that are interested in obtaining an SBA loan should call their bank to find out if they are an SBA lender, or they can click here for a list of the most active SBA 7(a) lenders in the United States. To review a sample application, click here.

Low Interest Disaster Loans from SBA

The SBA provides low interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, whether private or non-profit organizations. Usually, the loans are specific to a certain area hit by a disaster. However, due to the coronavirus crisis, the SBA has been granted $7 billion in disaster relief loans and they have relaxed the criteria to start processing the loans.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans can provide up to $2 million in low interest disaster loans to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills due to slow down or closure from COVID-19.

The SBA shared the processes that must be followed for a small business to access the SBA COVID-19 Disaster Relief Lending program:
  • Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s governor, SBA will issue under its authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
For more information on SBA assistance and other COVID-19 guidance:

Disaster Assistance Loans
SBA Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources

State Assistance for Small Businesses

Individual states have provided additional small business loans and services on top of the SBA Disaster Loans. Below are some of the programs enacted by a few of the states (and cities) impacted.


California is providing disaster loans up to $1 million for small businesses. The state is providing work-sharing programs that can minimize the need for layoffs, keep trained employees and prepare for business conditions to improve while avoiding the cost of hiring and training new employees.

The city of San Francisco has created the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund, which allows impacted small businesses to access up to $10,000 for employee salaries and rent.

The city of Los Angeles announced an $11 million emergency loan program for small businesses. The loan is available for up to 2,500 small businesses with 1 to 500 employees. The loans are no- to low interest and there is no application fee. However, applicants must meet basic underwriting criteria. Small business owners can apply online.


Florida is offering the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which will provide up to $50 million in short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19.


The governor of Georgia has directed his administration to declare a statewide Economic Injury Declaration with the SBA so small business owners can get disaster assistance loans.


The governor of Illinois has directed his administration to declare a statewide Economic Injury Declaration with the SBA so small business owners can get disaster assistance loans.

New Jersey 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has institued a package of new initiatives for businesses, including loans and grants, in the state. The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program gives $5,000 grants to small businesses to stabilize businesses and reduce the need for layoffs.The Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program will give up to $100,000 in loans to businesses with less than $5 million in revenues. Business owners can see if they quailify by utilizing the Emergency Assistance Eligibility Wizard

Grant application forms are currently available to download. 

New York City

The mayor of New York City has introduced 0% interest loans up to $75,000 for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees whose sales have decreased by 25% or more due to COVID-19. The city is also offering an Employee Retention Grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to small businesses with fewer than five employees.

North Carolina

The governor of North Carolina has directed his administration to declare a statewide Economic Injury Declaration with the SBA so small business owners can get disaster assistance loans.


The governor of Texas has directed his administration to declare a statewide Economic Injury Declaration with the SBA so small business owners can get disaster assistance loans.

Private Corporations Offer Assistance to Small Businesses

Large private and/or public corporations are also setting up programs to assist small businesses:

Industrial Association Coronavirus Resources

Nationwide industry associations have compiled COVID-19-related information that directly impact their industries.


The National Council of Nonprofits coronavirus resource center shares information, news per state and more the variety of nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.


The National Retail Foundation (NRF) resources page shares the latest updates around the COVID-19 pandemic including information from government agencies, health experts and retailers.


The National Restaurant Association has compiled restaurant industry specific guidelines during the coronavirus crisis, including the latest information on federal relief laws.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Congress passed and the President has signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the second in a series of coronavirus relief plans. The Chamber of Commerce details the legislation and its impact on employees and small businesses, and recommends offering more assistance to businesses in the next relief program. The Act includes:
  • Paid Sick Leave: The Act requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick leave (80 hours for full-time employees and the typical number of hours over two weeks for part-time employees).
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave (FMLA): The Act requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave (FMLA). FMLA is available to any employee who has been employed for at least 30 days if they have to quarantine because of exposure to or symptoms of coronavirus, care for a family member in the same situation or care for children if schools are closed or their daycare is unavailable because of a public health emergency.
The Chamber of Commerce states that there could be a liquidity impact for small businesses due to these changes as employers pay employees and have to wait for reimbursement from the federal government. The Chamber states, “It is expected that some businesses who face a severe revenue disruption and are unable to pay their employees whether at work or not may elect to furlough employees which would allow them to access unemployment compensation. Some businesses who absent this legislation would elect to pay employees for sick leave or paid FMLA will likely be marginally better off as they are reimbursed by the federal government.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a coronavirus small business guide to assist owners during this time. They also created a downloadable version guide called the Coronavirus Emergency Loans-Small Business Guide and Checklist. 

AmTrust Helps Small Businesses

As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our insureds is top of mind. AmTrust has developed a library of coronavirus resources to help you and your employees stay safe in this challenging time. We encourage you to utilize these guides and share them with others.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal, tax or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is accurate, appropriate or suitable for any specific business, tax or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business, tax and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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