In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners all over the U.S. are looking for relief. After all, never before have so many businesses been forced to restrict their operations and navigate such limited foot traffic and consumer spending while still keeping the lights on.
The good news is that between the federal relief options created by the CARES act, as well as state, local, and even private small business stimulus grants, there are places to turn to receive financial assistance.
With that in mind, we’ve created this guide, compiling a variety of coronavirus small business relief options to help you identify what might work best for your business.
Table of Contents
Federal Coronavirus Small Business Relief Options
At the federal level, hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated to small business relief through the CARES Act. These funds are being disbursed through the following programs.
Paycheck Protection Program
The primary source of stimulus funding for small business owners is through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which disburses loans through SBA-accredited lenders to cover payroll costs as well as rent, utilities, mortgage interest, and other debt obligations. These loans may be forgiven if the borrower follows certain criteria.
PPP loans are available in amounts equal to 250% of your average monthly payroll, up to $10 million. Interest rates are set at 1%.
As of July 6, the federal government has extended the deadline for new PPP applications to August 8, 2020. You can apply for a PPP loan through an SBA-approved lender of your choice, or start the PPP application process now through Fundera.
SBA Economic Disaster Injury Loans (EIDL)
The CARES stimulus package has also expanded access to Economic Injury Disaster loans through the SBA. An EIDL can cover fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. EIDLs are available for businesses in every state via the SBA website.
Coronavirus-related EIDLs are available in amounts up to $2 million, based on actual economic injury determined by the SBA. The interest rates are set at 3.75% for businesses, 2.75% for nonprofits, with repayment terms of up to 30 years.
EIDL Emergency Grants
In addition, as part of the EIDL expansion under the CARES small business stimulus package, businesses can apply for an emergency grant of $10,000 that is delivered within three days to help maintain payroll, provide sick leave, and serve other financial obligations.
This being said, even if your business is denied a loan, you can still access this grant—although they will only be available through the EIDL program until December 31, 2020.
Moreover, it’s important to note that while you can apply for and receive both a PPP and an EIDL, you cannot use them for the same purpose. In this case, you cannot use an EIDL to cover your payroll costs if you are using a PPP loan for that purpose.
To find out more about applying for one of these loans, visit our overview of coronavirus business loans.
Main Street Lending Program
An alternative to PPP loans, the CARES stimulus package has allotted money to the creation of the Main Street Lending Program which is being managed by the Federal Reserve, as opposed to the SBA.
The Main Street Lending Program gives eligible small and medium-sized businesses the ability to access affordable financing through local, participating lenders. Loans are available in larger amounts in comparison to PPP and EIDL loans. Interest rates are set at LIBOR (London Interbank Offer Rate) plus 3%.
You can learn more about this stimulus program and how to apply on the Federal Reserve website.
Additional SBA Loan Programs
The SBA has multiple loan programs, most of which are low-interest loans for small business owners looking to expand, renovate, or otherwise fund their ventures. These include the SBA 7(a), SBA microloan, and SBA 504/CDC loans.
The CARES Act stimulus package set aside funding for the SBA to pay the principal, interest, and fees for six months for businesses that have an outstanding SBA loan impacted by the outbreak. That means you won’t need to make payments on your SBA 7(a) loan or other federal business loans until later this year.
Learn more about SBA 7(a) loans here.
In addition, the CARES Act has expanded the SBA Express loan pilot program, increasing available loan amounts from $350,000 to $1 million.
Coronavirus Small Business Tax Relief Options
On top of the loans and emergency grant options that are available through the CARES Act, your small business may also be eligible for tax relief as well.
Employee Retention and Payroll Tax Credits
In lieu of taking out a PPP loan, your business can take advantage of a new payroll tax credit, called the Employee Retention Credit. This credit is fully refundable and is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to employees.
Additionally, this provision of the CARES stimulus package gives employers the ability to defer payment of the 6.2% social security tax that would normally be due in December 2020 until December 31, 2021 (50%) and December 31, 2022 (50%). Self-employed taxpayers can defer paying 50% of their self-employment tax until the end of 2021 (25%) and 2022 (25%) as well.
It’s important to note, however, that you won’t be able to utilize these deferments if you take out a PPP loan, so it’s worth discussing the pros and cons of either option with your accountant.
Tax Deadline Extensions
This year, the federal government extended the deadline for income tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15, 2020.
If you needed more than the additional 90 days to submit your tax return, you would have had to file a six-month extension using IRS Form 4868 by July 15.
Most state tax deadlines have mirrored the federal deadlines, but you can review this deadline resource from AICPA to see where your state stands.
State and Local Small Business Stimulus Grants
At the state and local level, many government agencies have launched small business relief programs—including both loan and grant programs.
With this in mind, here are some of the top small business stimulus grants available by state:
- Phoenix Small Business Relief Grant
- Grants up to $10,000 for small businesses (25 employees or less) located in Phoenix impacted by COVID-19
- Phoenix Microbusiness Resiliency Grant
- Stimulus grants up to $5,000 for microbusinesses, solo practitioners, entrepreneurs, independent operators, and startups located in Phoenix impacted by COVID-19
- City of Lathrop COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant Program
- $5,000 grant to businesses with three to 20 part-time and/or full-time employees located within Lathrop city limits
- San Joaquin County Microbusiness Assistance Grant Program
- Grants of up to $4,000 for businesses operating in San Joaquin County with zero full-time employees other than the business owners
- San Joaquin County Small Business Assistance Grant Program
- Stimulus grants for businesses operating in San Joaquin County with one to 50 full-time employees. Maximum grant amount is equal to number of full-time employees multiplied by $2,000
- San Joaquin County Enhanced Small Business Assistance Grant Program
- Grants of up to $100,000 for businesses operating in San Joaquin County with 51 to 250 employees
- City of Middletown Business Operating Grant Program
- Grants of up to $5,000 for Middletown-based businesses affected by COVID-19
- Denver Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund
- Grants of up to $15,000 for nonprofit organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- City of Boca Raton Small Business Recovery Relief Grant Program
- Grants of up to $5,000 for businesses within Boca Raton with three to 25 employees
- City of Sarasota Small Business and Safety Assistance Grant Program
- Grants of up to $5,000 for eligible businesses operating in Sarasota with fewer than 25 full-time employees
- City of St. Petersburg Fighting Chance Fund
- Grants of up to $4,000 for brick-and-mortar businesses in St. Petersburg with no more than 50 full-time and part-time employees
- Grants of up to $2,000 for home-based businesses in St. Petersburg
- Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
- Working capital stimulus grants up to $25,000 for businesses that employ 50 people or fewer
- City of Urbana Small Business Assistance Program
- Grants up to $10,000 for businesses operating in the City of Urbana with up to 15 employees
- Louisiana Main Street Recovery Grant Program
- Grants of up to $15,000 for Louisiana businesses with no more than 50 full-time employees
- Lake Charles Small Business Stabilization Fund
- Grants of $2,500 to $5,000 for Lake Charles businesses that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19
- COVID-19 Workplace Safety Grant
- Grants up to $10,000 for businesses to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread through safety and health-related equipment
- Michigan Small Business Restart Program
- Stimulus grants up to $20,000 for businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees
- Greater Grand Rapids Chamber Foundation
- Grants up to $10,000 for businesses operating in Kent County with five to 25 full-time employees
- Small Business Lease Emergency Assistance Grant Program
- Grants up to $10,000 to support lease payments for small businesses in New Jersey
- Hoboken Small Business Grant Assistance Program
- Stimulus grants of up to $20,000 for businesses operating in Hoboken with up to 25 full-time employees
- City of Jersey City CARES Act Small Business Grant Application
- Grants of up to $20,000 for businesses operating in Jersey City with up to 25 full-time employees
- East Harlem Small Business Grant
- Stimulus grants of up to $20,000 for businesses within the boundaries of Manhattan Community District 11 with 20 or fewer employees
- City of Dunkirk Small Business Grant
- Grants of up to $10,000 operating in the City of Dunkirk with one to 50 employees
- Town of Irondequoit Small Business Grant Program
- Grants of up to $5,000 businesses operating in the town of Irondequoit with over five full-time employees
- Grants of up to $2,500 businesses operating in the town of Irondequoit with five or fewer full-time employees
- City of Charlotte Open for Business Access to Capital Program
- Grants of $10,000 or $25,000 (depending on the number of employees) for small businesses located within the city limits of Charlotte with 25 or fewer employees
- DGI Retail Revitalization Grant Program
- Stimulus grants of up to $1,500 for businesses located in downtown Greensboro
- Guilford CARES Small Business Assistance Grant Program
- Grants of up to $10,000 for businesses located in Guilford County with one to 25 full-time employees
- Wilkes County Small Business Recovery Program
- Grants of up to $2,000 located in Wilkes County with up to 25 employees
- City of Bryan Emergency Assistance Special Economic Development Grant
- Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 for businesses within the City of Bryan to create/retain jobs for low- to moderate-income employees
- Fort Bend County Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program
- Grants up to $25,000 (based on business size) for businesses within Fort Bend County that have up to 50 full-time employees
- Seattle 2020 Small Business Stabilization Fund
- City of SeaTac Business Emergency Relief Grant
- Stimulus grants of $2,500 for businesses located in SeaTac with no more than 15 full-time employees
Additional Coronavirus Small Business Relief Options
On top of the small business stimulus grant and relief options that are available through federal, state, and local governments, there are a handful of additional financing avenues you might explore as well.
Private Small Business Stimulus Grants
From Facebook to Amazon, a variety of private companies and nonprofit organizations have announced programs to aid small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are a few of the top options:
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- Up to 30,000 businesses in more than 30 counties may be eligible to receive a business grant from Facebook
- Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
- Eligible small businesses within the Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, areas can apply for stimulus grants from Amazon
- HelloAlice COVID-19 Business for All Grants
- $10,000 emergency stimulus grants for small businesses affected by COVID-19
- GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund
- Businesses affected by COVID-19 that raise at least $500 can receive a matching $500 stimulus grant from GoFundMe.
Refer to our guide to learn more about these private small business grants.
Financing From Alternative Lenders
Private, non-bank lending companies such as Kabbage, OnDeck, and BlueVine have emerged in the years following the recession as a viable source of funding for small businesses that can’t obtain SBA or other bank financing, or need financing quickly.
Although the alternative lending space is in flux right now due to the pandemic, some financing options will be available to businesses looking to temporarily address cash flow issues.
Small Business Credit Cards
Credit cards can be useful tools for covering cash flow gaps and giving you and your business a little breathing room when it comes to making big purchases.
Of course, if your revenue streams have dried up due to the coronavirus, paying off your business credit card becomes a difficult and scary proposition. Fortunately, some credit card issuers including American Express, Citibank, Capital One, Chase, and Apple have announced various forms of aid and leniency to their customers, such as waiving service fees, late fees, and early withdrawal fees on CDs.
To learn more, contact your credit card issuer—preferably through digital channels such as their mobile app or online chat function, since phone lines are more likely to be overwhelmed.
If you have good personal credit and need help consolidating business debt, you might also look into credit cards with a 0% introductory APR for a period usually lasting nine to 12 months. Note that once that intro period ends, a variable interest rate will kick in and will depend on your creditworthiness and the prime rate.
Learn more about the best business credit cards for the coronavirus outbreak.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, there’s no doubt that this is an uncertain and financially taxing time for small businesses across the country—but hopefully one or multiple of the options on this list can help you receive some of the relief you need.
This being said, it’s important to note that if you need personalized advice and assistance during this time, you can use the SBA’s Local Assistance tool to find local partners that can counsel, mentor, train, and provide up-to-date information for your business.
Similarly, you can find a local small business mentor through SCORE’s locator tool, and connect with them using face-to-face video technologies like Google Hangouts, Skype, or FaceTime.
For additional information, tools, and guides, visit our coronavirus small business resources page here.