The coronavirus pandemic has hit small businesses particularly hard, with many “non-essential” businesses being required to close in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. The economic impact of the virus could leave many Americans out of work and many businesses having to close permanently.
Melissa Newton of the Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism wants local businesses to know there are funds available from the federal government to help them get through these tough times. These include grants and low interest loans from the Small Business Administration. They’re all part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
La Paz County District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor has been promoting the CARES Act to local businesses. He’s been going on radio and talking to local businesses about the funds that are available. He spoke briefly about these funds at the Board of Supervisors’ April 1 meeting.
“This is an opportunity for small businesses,” he said. “They make up so much of our economy.”
At the same meeting, District 1 Supervisor D.L. Wilson said businesses can get money to pay their employees and their bills.
While much of the attention on the CARES Act has focused on stimulus checks for individuals and families, there is much in it that applies directly to small businesses. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, discussed these funds with Arizona mayors and county supervisors March 26.
The first of these small business programs is the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides $350 billion in zero fee, low interest loans of up to $10 million for small businesses. Small businesses, non-profits, franchises, veterans’ organizations, and tribal businesses up to 500 employees are eligible, as long as they conform with SBA definitions.
These loans can be processed by local banks or credit unions.
The second program is SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These are loans for up to $2 million that carry interest rates of 3.75 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits. Principal and interest can be deferred for up to four years. The loans are meant to be used to pay for expenses that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. With the emergency declaration by Gov. Doug Ducey, every county in the state is eligible to receive funding through the EIDL program.
An additional program for those business that apply for EIDL funding is SBA Emergency Economic Injury Grants. This program has $10 billion in funding for advances of up to $10,000 for businesses and non-profits that apply for an EIDL. They must apply for one of these grants within three days of applying for an EIDL. The grant can be used or pay sick leave, maintain payroll, and pay business obligations such as rent or a mortgage.
These grants do not need to be repaid, even if the EIDL application is rejected.
At the April 6 County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, Minor said some of information presented earlier on these grants had changed. He said the grants are coming slower that what had been hoped for. He added they are defined as being up to $10,000, or $1,000 per employee for with a maximum amount of 10 employees.
More information on these programs can be found by going to www.sba.gov.
Newton said the chamber can serve as a contact point for local businesses when it comes to relief from the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. While their office is temporarily closed and the staff is working from home, they monitor their phone messages. The number is 928-669-2174.