TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Many small business owners scraped together rent yesterday and today they're wondering if they’ll make it through the month. Financial relief is available through federal loans for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“We’re all hearing ‘it’s an unprecedented time’ but it really is because they’re forgivable loans,” said tax strategist Barbara Schreihans. “There is free money out there available to try to help small businesses.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several funding options and the CARES Act established several temporary programs.
The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance provides up to $10,000 to businesses and doesn't have to be repaid.
“Supposedly the funds are going to be in your account within 72 hours of approval and then they will ask you if you want an SBA Loan on top of that,” Schreihans said.
The Paycheck Protection Plan gives an incentive for businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis. The SBA will forgive the loan if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
Schreihans recommends talking with a tax or financial expert if you need help navigating the loan application process.
Some small business owners said the application process is very unfamiliar. Andres Marmion, the owner of Berry Greens Acai and Juice Bar, is learning what options are available for his cafe in downtown Tucson.
“To your average person, like myself, who doesn’t have years of experience or a team behind him, it’s a little challenging to dive into that,” Marmion said.
So far, the cafe is staying open with curbside and takeout services.
“I’m trying to shoulder as many hours as I can to keep everything afloat, keep everyone paid, keep bills paid and keep payroll going,” he said.
Marmion is staying optimistic his cafe will make it through this challenging time.
“At the end of the day, I think we will come out stronger, more educated and more prepared in the future,” he said.