Note: This post will be continually updated as additional resources become available.
Business owners are reeling as the Covid-19 disruptions to daily life hit an increasing number of locales. Governments are scrambling to marshal resources to offer assistance to those taking a hit.
Here's a rundown of programs available as of Monday, March 30.
President Trump on Friday signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill into law. The package includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to both small businesses and large companies, as well as direct payments of up to $1,200 for individuals. The package also includes enhanced jobless aid that for the first time would also apply to freelancers and gig economy workers.
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on March 20 that Tax Day is being delayed from April 15 to July 15, giving taxpayers and businesses extra time to file their taxes without interest or penalties.
President Trump signed a coronavirus relief package into law on March 18 that provides paid leave benefits and additional unemployment benefits for U.S. workers. The package, which will take effect by April 2, includes new federal employee-benefit mandates and offers these provisions for employers:
- Tax credits for businesses with fewer than 500 employees to cover:
- Two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who have been quarantined, have a sick family member, or have been affected by school closings.
- Up to three months of paid family and medical leave amounting to no less than two-thirds of regular pay for those employees listed above.
- The option for the Labor Department to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from abiding by the paid leave mandate, if the Labor Department decides the new law could pose an existential threat to the company.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced March 17 that the IRS will defer $300 billion worth of tax payments for individuals and businesses. Corporations can defer up to $10 million of payments owed to the IRS, interest-free, for 90 days, while individuals can defer up to $1 million.
Recently, President Trump signed a bill that allows the SBA to issue an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans. The SBA announced on March 12 that small businesses with financial burdens caused by the pandemic that don't have credit available elsewhere can be eligible for loans of up to $2 million with a 3.75 percent interest rate (2.75 percent for nonprofits). As of March 21, businesses in all 50 states and U.S. territories can apply here. For more information, you can contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or email@example.com.
On March 26, New Orleans-based TruFund Financial Services, a community development financial institution, announced the launch of a Small Business Covid-19 Response Task Force. The program provides virtual information sessions and virtual small-business resiliency training and disaster response efforts to help support small businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week, the International Franchise Association--the trade organization for franchisers, franchisees, and suppliers--requested $300 billion in SBA lending authority for the creation of a small-business workforce stabilization fund and relief for business interruption insurance.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that have experienced economic injury from Covid-19. The application period runs through May 8, 2020. Small-business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida affected by Covid-19 can apply for short-term loans of up to $50,000. These loans are interest-free for one year.
GO Topeka, part of the economic development agency Greater Topeka Partnership, has created the HOST Relief Program to provide up to $2 million in economic stimulus for businesses and workers affected by Covid-19. A small-business emergency resource fund developed by private sector leaders, the program will provide both private sector dollars to Shawnee County small businesses through purchases and public sector dollars through emergency grants.
On March 16, the New Orleans Business Alliance (Nolaba) announced a relief fund for gig economy workers who have experienced a loss of income because of Covid-19. Nolaba committed $100,000 to initiate the fund, which had reached $335,000 as of March 24.
TruFund Financial Services, a community development financial institution, announces the launch of a Small Business Covid-19 Response Task Force: virtual information sessions and virtual small-business resiliency training and disaster response efforts to help support small businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.
On March 23, Maryland governor Larry Hogan announced a $175 million relief package to assist employees, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rockville, Maryland-based education company Lurn has created an emergency relief fund to provide grants, ranging from $50 to $500, to entrepreneurs and small-business owners who need help getting groceries, medicine, transportation, and other necessities. The fund has raised $50,000 as of March 25 and has dispersed about $20,000 to applicants.
New York City
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on March 13 that the state would waive the usual seven-day waiting period for collecting unemployment insurance for workers laid off as a result of coronavirus. New York City Department of Small Business Services commissioner Gregg Bishop told the Journal that the following measures will be made available to about 2,600 businesses in New York City:
- Businesses of up to 100 employees that can document a drop in sales of 25 percent or more in recent weeks may be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000; and
- Businesses with fewer than five employees may be eligible for cash grants of up to 40 percent of payroll costs for two months, which will average about $6,000. Find out more about the NYC Small Business Continuity Fund.
The city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) will issue emergency grants of up to $10,000 for affected small businesses. Find out more about the program: Covid-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund. Mayor London Breed has declared a state of emergency and announced that the city will allow:
- Deferments on first quarter 2020 tax payments until February 2021 for small businesses with up to $10 million in annual sales; and
- Delayed collection of the city's Unified License bill for at least three months, which includes fees for restaurants, food trucks, bakeries, and other small businesses.
Mayor Breed's Employee Assistance Program, unveiled March 13, includes:
- Paid sick leave for all workers, including temporary and part-time employees;
- Unemployment insurance for workers whose employers have reduced their hours or shut down operations (available through the California Employment Development Department);
- Disability insurance for workers who are certified by a medical professional as having been exposed to Covid-19; and
- Up to six weeks of benefit payments for employees who are unable to work because they're caring for an ill or quarantined family member.
The OEWD tells Inc. that the city is seeking relief from both state and federal governments for employment benefits including unemployment, sick leave, and disability. It has also been in communication with private-sector financial partners and philanthropic organizations about providing credit, lending flexibility, and direct financial support to affected businesses.
The OEWD also has created a guide for businesses and workers impacted by the outbreak. Find out more: San Francisco financial aid.
Facebook created a Small Business Grants Program that will provide $100 million in cash and ad credits to 30,000 businesses in the 30 countries where Facebook operates.
GoFundMe, the social fundraising platform, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative, partnering with Yelp to provide small-business owners with grants and resources. GoFundMe and Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, which is open for anyone to make a donation. There will also be $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.
According to governor Jay Inslee's office, the state is working to compile a list of local bankers, financial associations, telecoms, utilities, and major employers that may be able to provide:
- Favorable credit terms for businesses that encounter cash-flow problems;
- Debt and late penalty forgiveness for workers; and
- Deferred bills, waived fees, and no-interest loans.
Meanwhile, the office of Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan announced it will make $1.5 million in grants available to small businesses affected by the outbreak. Businesses with five or fewer employees that are owned by someone at or below 80 percent of the area's median income are eligible for grants of up to $10,000. The Seattle Office of Economic Development is now accepting applications for the grants. Find out more about Seattle aid to small businesses.
Mayor Durkan's office also announced it will defer business and occupation (B&O) tax collections for businesses that have annual taxable income of $5 million or less and that pay city taxes quarterly. Seattle utilities will not be shut off for customers who have been financially impacted by Covid-19.
Amazon has created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to small businesses in and around Seattle in need of assistance because of economic challenges related to Covid-19.
San Jose, California
The San Jose City Council approved a moratorium on evictions of renters, including small businesses, who can't afford to pay their leases, and approved the creation of a pool of public funds for renters and small businesses that need assistance with rent payments.