The business community is reeling right now thanks to COVID-19. And while initiatives are being implemented to provide some relief, small business owners are facing unprecedented challenges.
But the rollout of so many programs on both a federal and state level is complex and complicated. And local business owners are telling me they don’t know where to turn for up-to-date information and resources they can act on right now.
In an effort to help, I have created a COVID-19 quick reference guide for business owners. Download this interactive list of information and resources business owners can use to successfully operate their business during the coronavirus crises.
Note! Information will be updated as actionable information becomes available, so check back often.
***5:00 PM April 1, 2020*** Georgia Govenor Brian Kemp just issued statewide Shelter-in-Place order that will go into effect on April 3rd.
***Update on Friday, April 3rd*** The Georgia statewide shelter-in-place, which goes into effect today, April 3rd at 6 pm through 11:59 pm on Monday, April 13, 2020. The order mandates that residents stay home except to engage in essential services, perform necessary travel, or if they are part of the workforce for critical infrastructure. Read the Shelter in Place Handout from the Governor’s Office, which provides more details about the order.
Business Owners COVID-19 Assistance Overview
The CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security is a $2 trillion stimulus package that includes significant relief money for small businesses.
To be eligible, a small business must be substantially affected by COVID-19, experiencing a decrease in revenue, staffing challenges or supply-chain disruptions, for example. The business must also employ less than 500 employees.
The CARES Act provisions include:
- Emergency grants of $10 billion that will provide up to $10,000 per small business to cover immediate operating costs.
- Forgivable loans of $350 billion that will be allocated to the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10million per business for ongoing payroll and operations costs.
- Existing loan relief of $17 billion to cover six months of payments on existing SBA loans for small businesses that already have them.
- Expanded unemployment insurance for workers who can’t be rehired or find other work. It also extends jobless benefits to previously ineligible groups of workers, like gig workers and freelancers.
What do business owners need to know about qualifying?
Businesses must maintain a similar number of employees as they did prior to the crisis in order to be eligible for full loan forgiveness. A reduction in loan forgiveness will be applied to those businesses that do not meet this requirement.
What can small business owners do right now?
- Reach out to your bank to verify they can process SBA loans. Tell them you plan to apply for the EIDL or the PPP loan and inquiry how to get ready to apply. They should also be able to share how quickly the grant or loan will be available.
- If you do not have a relationship with a banker, or yours will not process SBA loans, you should find one.
- Start gathering all pertinent documents. The required documents will vary based on the lender, but it’s a good idea to begin gathering:
- Payroll records for the calendar year 2019 plus the first quarter of 2020, including 1099 payouts to contractors vital to the operation of your business
- Bank statements
- Articles of incorporation
- Lease agreement or deed for the place of business
- Business certificate or license
- Individual and business tax returns and any financial documents that reflect your financial situation
- Not all the necessary loan application paperwork has been finalized with the banks as of today, but is expected by Friday, April 3rd.
What to do if your business doesn’t qualify?
Businesses that do not meet the requirements for the CARES grant or forgivable loan relief may still apply for a loan via the SBA Express Bridge Loan Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. These loans will need to be repaid but could help to fill the financial gap until the coronavirus crisis is over.
You need to stay informed, here’s how:
The Small Business Administration has put together a special coronavirus page detailing existing loan information. You will also find guidance for businesses and employers along with links to local assistance. As more information is released there will be updates to this link, including details about the stimulus loans and grants.
More Business Owners COVID-19 related posts and articles can be found here.