Will coronavirus grants, loans be enough to help small businesses survive? - Chicago Tribune

Will coronavirus grants, loans be enough to help small businesses survive? - Chicago Tribune

Will coronavirus grants, loans be enough to help small businesses survive? - Chicago Tribune

Posted: 27 Mar 2020 10:23 AM PDT

Wearing a mask he made, Gidal Vodovoz poses for a portrait near his home on March 26, 2020, in Vernon Hills. Vodovoz, who usually makes high-end suits and tuxedos, produces the masks from cotton used in men's button-down shirts.(Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune)

Grants available to small businesses impacted by coronavirus - TribLIVE

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 04:34 AM PDT

For Peggy Meier, finding a business or economic disaster loan as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country means saving her company.

Meier, who operates John Meier and Sons Hardware in Murrysville, now in its third generation, is contemplating temporarily shuttering — a decision she has been wrangling with the past three weeks — due to a decrease in customers both in the hardware store and those needing heating, air conditioning and HVAC repairs.

"We're trying to make it," Meier said. "It's been in our family and it's everyone's main job. You hate to close it, you hate to lose everything."

But a decision to close could be detrimental to the business, she said, adding, "I know we won't" reopen. "We're just getting too far behind."

Businesses in the state felt the brunt of the virus last week when Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to temporarily close. Grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, beer distributors, bakeries and hardware stores are among businesses permitted to stay open. Restaurants are still able to remain open for takeout and delivery only.

In an effort to help curb a blow to the economy from several similar mandates across the country and the repercussions of the coronavirus, federal, state and local grants are available to small businesses.

Loan options

To help keep small businesses from permanently shuttering, a $2.2 trillion relief package passed by the U.S. Senate early Thursday morning includes $350 billion in loans for companies with 500 employees or fewer, including nonprofits, self-employed people and hotel and restaurant chains, the Associated Press reported.

The loans include eight weeks of cash assistance to cover payroll, rent and other expenses.

The U.S. Small Business Association also is offering a number of loans, including SBA express bridge loans for business who have a relationship with an SBA express lender. The loan offers up to $25,000 in relief with less paperwork.

Another option is the economic injury disaster loan program, which is available to all business owners. The program works with state governors to provide low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits severely impacted by the coronavirus.

In the state, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority is offering loans up to $100,000 with terms of three years. Applicants will need individual credit reports, one year of tax returns, invoices and signed general ledger details along with an $84 filing fee. Applications can be submitted through the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland.

In addition to loan options, local communities are rallying together to help small businesses survive.

How you can help

Locally, Hempfield supervisors and the Downtown Greensburg Project are offering tips on ways community members can help those businesses survive.

During this week's public meeting, Hempfield supervisors adopted recommendations like sending a gift or care package to friends and family members; purchasing gift cards for future services; utilizing restaurants and businesses offering curb-side pickup; booking appointments for April; maintaining fitness memberships; donating food, blood or money and donating to the Hempfield Township Community Fund that supports recreation and volunteer firefighters.

"Because of the covid-19, the impact of the governor's order and the restrictions, commercial establishments are suffering," township Supervisor Doug Weimer said. "We recognize that there are many people who work in those establishments. There's the owners, there's all the employees that are involved, and many people are out of work."

He added, "We want … to help them get through this time with the community being able to support them with the suggested points."

Community members might also have more time to pay their property taxes without a penalty. Township officials are considering allowing property owners to pay their taxes at face value until Dec. 31. Normally, if property taxes are not paid by July 1, a 10% penalty is added to their bill.

Supervisors will discuss the proposal during next month's meeting, said township Manager Jason Winters.

The Downtown Greensburg Project adopted a similar plan through a raffle. Running from Thursday to April 1, those who order takeout or delivery from participating restaurants will be entered for a chance to win a gift card to businesses not considered essential. One gift card is given away per day.

Participating restaurants include Degennaro Restaurant & Lounge, Jaffre's Restaurant & Bar, Morelands at Waterworks, Sun Dawg Cafe, Sunset Cafe, Tapped Brick Oven & Pour House, The Boulevard and the Lamplighter.

In Allegheny County, a GoFundMe Page was set up in support of restaurant workers. The Greater PGH Restaurant Workers Emergency Fund has raised $17,860 out of a $60,000 goal. If the goal is met, $150 will be met per worker.

Carnegie Mellon University also started a virtual tip jar for restaurant workers. Donations can be made at cmu.is/pgh_tipjar.

"As a result of this crisis, we need to turn to each other for mutual aid and support with any resources we are able to share," the GoFundMe page reads. "We are the ones who have cooked for you, served you and cleaned up for you. Please consider giving back during this time of mass financial hardship."

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, mtomasic@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: Coronavirus | Local | Regional

Oakland County to give grants, loans to small businesses for COVID-19 - Detroit Free Press

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 01:13 PM PDT


Oakland County will be offering a total of $3 million in grants and an additional $6 million in low-interest loans to small businesses that are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

County Executive David Coulter announced Thursday that the grant program, called the Small Business Stabilization Fund, could be operational by at least April 1 and would offer grants of up to $10,000. 

Most of the grants will be reserved for businesses with fewer than 50 employees that were not deemed "essential" by the governor's order and had to close. 

However, $700,000 of the funds will go to encourage manufacturers to shift production to personal protective equipment for health care workers, such as face masks and gowns.

"Shuttered businesses are driving unemployment increases at unprecedented rates," Coulter said. "Oakland County saw nearly 16,000 more individuals apply for unemployment last week."

Applications for the grants will be accepted next week at OakGov.com/COVID. Businesses will need to show a loss of revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the grants can be used to meet ordinary expenses, such as payroll, rent or mortgage payments.

More: Wayne County, TCF offer cheap small business loans amid coronavirus

Loans program

The small business loan program is a partnership between the county and TCF Bank and modeled on a Wayne County program announced earlier this week.

"When TCF announced the program, I jumped on the phone with them and asked if they would be willing to offer us the same deal," said Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.

It will offer 12-month loans for $5,000 up to $50,000, with interest rates between 0% and 2%. The first six months will have interest-only payments. The loan program could be up and running within a week or two, Meisner said, and applicants can apply through the TCF Bank website.

Small businesses "are the engine of our economy, and they are just getting crushed right now," Meisner said.

Funding for the $6-million loan pool will be split between Oakland County and TCF. 

Contact JC Reindlat 313-222-6631 or jcreindl@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@jcreindl. Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter.

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