Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses: Seven Ways to Get Help

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| 7 min read Financial Assistance

Millions of businesses across the US are feeling the financial strain of the coronavirus after closing their doors to uphold social distancing practices recommended by the CDC. While more consumers follow suit and practice self-isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, small businesses face potentially devastating financial challenges.

While many businesses can stay afloat in the short-term, others will need to take stronger precautions to ensure their survival through this crisis. If you’re one of the 30 million small business owners in the US who is worried about the future, or you’re already struggling, there are avenues for financial assistance. The seven ideas below aim to offer coronavirus relief for small businesses.

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1. Coronavirus small business administration loans 

To help combat the financial fallout from the coronavirus, the government is offering special loans for small business owners. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a plan to help small businesses affected by coronavirus through affordable loan options. The disaster assistance loans for small businesses program will offer interest rates of 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere, and interest rates of 2.75% for nonprofits. The SBA offers long-term repayment options on these loans of up to 30 years. Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible for these loans.

Learn more about how to apply for one of these loans as well as other financial assistance options through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s small business loans page. Economic injury loans can cover small business expenses following a disaster.

2. Leniency from credit card companies

Many credit card companies have released statements announcing that they’ll be giving COVID-19 relief for small businesses too. They’re doing this by waiving service fees for 30 days, or offering other types of disaster relief assistance for small businesses. For example, Citibank recently announced that they’ll waive monthly service fees and fees incurred for early CD withdrawal.

Be sure to check with your bank or credit card company to find out if they are offering any special services during the COVID-19 pandemic, or other business resources. During times of crisis, many lenders and credit card companies are willing to negotiate on payment timelines and fees.

See this list of banks helping customers who are impacted by the coronavirus.

3. State and local resources

COVID-19 relief for businesses varies across different states, cities, and counties. For example, Washington State is offering no-interest loans for businesses that are enduring economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, New York City has launched the city’s Employee Retention Grant Program to help retain employees as businesses face decreased revenue.

Check with your state’s chamber of commerce to find out what financial assistance and loan options exist in your area for your small business.

4. Coronavirus help for small business through crowdfunding

Fundraising for coronavirus expenses can be a lifeline when your business is struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. While grants, loans, and stimulus measures can help greatly, it can take weeks—and even months—to receive that type of assistance. But with crowdfunding, you’re able to receive emergency financial assistance immediately.

Many people who are financially secure are now looking to help those affected by COVID-19—and crowdfunding gives them a way to easily do that. Your customers want to show their support and lend a hand to their favorite local business, but they may not know how. With online fundraising, loyal customers have an actionable way to step up and help you when you and your business need it most.

You can use crowdfunding to pay for any of these expenses and more during this period of COVID-19 closure:

  • Your monthly rent or mortgage payment
  • Health insurance for your employees
  • Paid sick time for your employees who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Crisis pay for employees who aren’t sick but are out of work
  • Employees who need time off to care for their children
  • Any other operational expenses you’re struggling to pay

If your business has already started a GoFundMe and you have questions about how to set up withdrawal to your business bank account, please take a look at our article on business and organization withdrawals

Receive a $500 grant through GoFundMe’s Small Business Relief Fund

GoFundMe has started a Small Business Relief Fund to help small business owners receive the financial support they need to keep their businesses thriving throughout the coronavirus pandemic—and long after. Through the Small Business Relief Fund, qualifying businesses that have raised at least $500 on GoFundMe can receive a matching $500 grant. To find out if you’re eligible and learn about the process, read the Small Business Initiative FAQs.

Further reading:

Real businesses that have started successful fundraisers

Countless businesses have been saved by crowdfunding. Below are just two examples of small businesses that turned to online fundraising during a personal financial crisis.

A virtual tip jar for Hideout Virtual Tavern

After making the decision to close through the end of March, the owners of the Hideout Tavern in Chicago, Illinois knew their staff would be hurting financially. They launched a virtual tip jar fundraiser as a way to support their staff during COVID-19, and their customers and supporters donated over $24,000 in just five days.

Warp and Weft weathering the shutdown

Warp and Weft, a comfort food restaurant in Lowell, Massachusetts, had to close its doors because of COVID-19. To offset their weekly expenses of over $10,000, the business owners started a GoFundMe that raised over $6,000 in just two days from local supporters.

5. Tax payment extension

To help those affected by the pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is providing small business relief for coronavirus. The IRS announced that it was giving both individuals and businesses a 90-day extension to pay tax fees. Now individuals can delay making tax payments up to $1 million, and businesses can delay making payments up to $10 million. Everyone will still need to file their taxes by April 15, 2020, but won’t need to pay on owed taxes until July 15.

6. Federal assistance

As part of the $2 trillion coronavirus aid package, the government has rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program that aims to help businesses keep current employees on the payroll or rehire employees they were forced to lay off.

Businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including nonprofits and freelancers, can receive 2.5 times their monthly payroll in loans (up to $10 million). The interest rate for these loans is 1%, and they can be eligible for forgiveness.

7. Coronavirus business grants through private companies

Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund

Amazon has pledged $5 million through a small business relief fund to help small businesses in need in the Seattle area. Businesses are eligible for grants if they have fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue. Amazon reviews all applications and disburses funds as quickly as possible.

Facebook’s Small Business Grant Program

Facebook is making $100 in cash grants and ad credits available to small businesses in over 30 countries. The grant money can be used to cover operational costs, take care of employees, pay rent, and more. Facebook says it will start taking applications in the coming weeks, and businesses can sign up for updates on their grant page.

With a little help, your business will weather the storm

Though the coronavirus pandemic leaves a lot of uncertainty in our future, rest assured that your customers and supporters want to help you survive. Free fundraising can help you navigate this financially stressful period, and our free Donate Button makes it easy to share your cause online. Start a GoFundMe today and get financial relief for your small business right away.

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Additional coronavirus resources: