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Assistance for Small Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Written by Erin White

Small businesses are the heart of our community, yet they are some of the hardest hit by the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While community members continue to try and support small businesses whenever possible, many are struggling financially. Assistance is available for those businesses, including funding options, debt relief, tax credits, guidance, mentoring, and other resources.

Financial Assistance Through U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) information on funding options, business guidance, local assistance, products and resources, and government contracting.

SBA funding options instituted under the Federal CARES Act include:

Paycheck Protection Program
Low-interest loan designed to encourage small businesses to keep employees on payroll.  The SBA will forgive the loan if all company employees are kept on payroll at current salary levels for eight weeks, and the loan money is used for payroll costs (at least 75%), rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.  Applications can be made through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Advance
The EIDL is a low-interest loan for small businesses experiencing a loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Funds can be used for payroll, working capital, paying fixed debt, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the pandemic not disrupted business.  The EIDL also offers an emergency advance of up to $10,000 for small businesses experiencing temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  This loan advance does not need to be repaid.
Access the loan application here

SBA Express Bridge Loans

This pilot program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to quickly access up to $25,000.  This may include businesses waiting for decision and disbursement of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. 
Access the Program Guide here

SBA Debt Relief
To help ease the temporary financial burden for small businesses, the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.  The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.  In addition, the SBA will also be providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020 for current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans that were in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020.

Learn about other SBA loan options here

View a comparison of the SBA COVID-19 financial assistance programs here

If you have questions regarding any of the SBA financial assistance programs, or have any other questions regarding your business, contact the SBA Long Island Office at 631-454-0750.

Coronavirus Tax Relief for Businesses and Tax-Exempt Entities

Employee Retention Credit
Broad-based refundable tax credit designed to encourage employers to keep employees on their payroll. The credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an employer whose business is fully or partially suspended because of COVID-19 or whose gross receipts decline by more than 50%.
Additional resource: Employee Retention Tax Credit: What You Need to Know

Credit for Sick and Family Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) gives businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members.  The FFCRA covers the costs of this paid leave by providing small businesses with refundable tax credits. Certain self-employed individuals in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits.
Additional resource: Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave FAQ

Other Financial Assistance Programs

Multi-State Financial Assistance Programs
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation provides a list of grant and loan programs, including the Facebook Small Business Grant, James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund, and Verizon and LISC Small Business Recovery Fund.

New York State Attorney General Suspension of Debt Collection Activity
Persons or businesses that owe (non-medical and non-student) debts to the State of New York that have been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection and litigation can apply for temporary suspension of debt collection activity. 

Other Useful Resources for Small Businesses

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Small Business Guide
News and information on financial assistance, adapting your business, engaging customers, and other COVID-19 related topics.

NYS Small Business Development Center (SBDC) COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 related news and resources for small business owners, including government announcements, loan and grant programs, labor/unemployment issues, and technology tools.

Empire State Development Novel Coronavirus FAQ for Businesses
Information for businesses regarding NYS regulations and general guidance related to the coronavirus.

Guidance Regarding Workforce Reduction and Essential Business Status
Business guidance regarding legislation on workforce reduction and essential business status. If you are still unsure about workforce reduction, consult this useful FAQ. If you are listed as a non-essential business but feel your business is essential, you can apply for essential business designation here.

NYS Shared Work Program
Provides an alternative to laying off employees during business downturns by allowing workers to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks.

Suffolk County Business Recovery Unit
Includes Suffolk County’s Business Response Plan, a survey on impact of COVID-19 on local business community, and other resources for local businesses.

Town of Islip Economic Development COVID-19 Resources
Information on federal, state, and local resources for business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCORE Long Island Business Mentoring
Remote mentoring  for business owners on all things business, including issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.