Resources for Small Business Owners Who Need COVID-19 Relief

Eligible business owners may be eligible to apply for federal and state emergency loan assistance

The global and national economies have been taking a hard hit due to the impacts of COVID-19. Businesses are scrambling to stay open and afloat, while abiding by national and state health regulations. The hospitality, real estate, and construction industries are experiencing these challenges and hardships, in particular. Small business owners across the state are seeking ways to support their employees, hold on to revenue, and keep their business afloat.

If you are a small business owner, especially one located in Florida, there are some resources available you can take advantage of now. Eligible business owners may be eligible to apply for federal and state emergency loan assistance. If you have questions about eligibility, how to fill out a loan application, or about emergency funding in general, please reach out to us today.



What is an SBA loan?

In general, the US Small Business Association Loan, or SBA Loan, is a federal loan designed to assist small business owners and homeowners seek relief following declared disasters. These disaster loans are commonly low-interest to work in favor of the business owner or homeowner. Disaster loans issued by the SBA are typically long-term (estimated 30 years), however terms are negotiated on a case by case basis.

The SBA Loan now offers assistance to businesses (and non-profit organizations) that have been negatively and severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). This specialized assistance is referred to as the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations. Applicants may qualify for up to a $2M loan.

A state’s governor must first submit a request to the SBA seeking a an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration. The SBA then approves this declaration, makes application instructions available in that state, and business owners may then apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Who can use the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan?

According to the US SBA, business owners and homeowners impacted by a declared disaster may qualify for an SBA loan. Currently, small business owners may apply for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (for the coronavirus) in all US states and territories. The SBA has made a list of eligible Florida counties impacted by COVID-19, including Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The US SBA has made public a list of states and counties impacted by the coronavirus that have been deemed eligible to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The list of eligible counties in Florida can be found here. If you are a small business owner in an eligible state and county, you may be able to apply for this federal disaster loan.


What is the Emergency Bridge Loan Program?

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is a loan program currently available to small business owners who are severely economically impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). This program is state-funded, interest free, and short-term (one year loan term). Although the program is publicly funded, it is not a grant and funds must be repaid.

This program is intended for short-term relief in order to bridge the gap until businesses are able to secure a long-term recovery strategy. Long-term assistance may include securing a federal disaster loan (see SBA information above).

Eligible and approved applicants may be loaned up to $50,000 per small business, however, some businesses may qualify for loans up to $100,000 with special circumstances.  The Emergency Bridge Loan Program is accepting applications online and by mail currently. Applications are statewide and open to all counties in the state of Florida.

Who can use the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program?

The Emergency Bridge Loan Program outlines its eligibility  and loan process online. Currently, the program is extended to small business owners in the state of Florida, in any county, who have been economically injured (negatively impacted) by the spread of COVID-19. There are eligibility requirements and exclusions based off of the type of business, size of business, and when the business was established.

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The Bridge Loan Program has made its eligibility requirements available online. in general, small business owners may be eligible if they are in the state of Florida, were established before March 9, 2020, and have between 2 and 100 employees. The program defines a small business as a privately held, for-profit business. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they’ve been impacted negatively by the coronavirus directly.

Some businesses that are not considered eligible for the program include (but are not limited to): massage parlors, businesses that engage in illegal activity, and businesses who generate more than 33.33% of their annual gross revenue through legal gambling.

Note that there are differences in between the two loan assistance programs. Each have independent eligibility requirements, loan terms, interest rates, and more. If you need assistance determining which emergency loan program is best for you and your small business, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jennis Law Firm today. We’re here to help.