Businesses struggling during coronavirus pandemic must keep workforce to get federal assistance

Coronavirus

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Lawmakers on Capitol Hill say help is on the way for small businesses that are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump’s signature on the $2 trillion economic relief package frees up $350 billion earmarked for small businesses.

“We’re trying to keep people employed,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said. “There are loans available that are forgiven that pay up to eight weeks of payroll and additional expenses.”

That loan forgiveness, Cardin said, comes with a simple step.

“They’re no conditions attached other than maintain your workforce,” Cardin said.

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) said she recognizes that non-essential businesses across the nation have been forced to close, but keeping employees on payroll will help the economy recover.

“If they’re willing to just go the extra mile and to keep those employees paid, they can get the money they need to stay open,” she said.

Lawmakers say the goal is for businesses to be read to bounce back as quickly as possible once this is all over.

Steve Bulger with the Small Business Administration (SBA) said the money will be distributed soon.

“The paycheck protection program will open on Friday,” he said.

Bulger said businesses should reach out to their banks now to ensure they receive their share.

“The bank will make a calculation of how much they’re entitled to for the loan, they’ll immediately get the money,” Bulger said.

Bulger said if the loans are used correctly, the business will be off the hook and the SBA will pay the bank back.

Businesses looking for more information and resources can visit the SBA website.

The SBA is also offering the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which can help small businesses pay their bills and their payroll. Eligible businesses can receive a loan of up to $2 million with up to 30 years to pay it off with low-interest rates.

Business owners can apply for a loan online.

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