Here's what you need to know if you are a small business owner

April 2, 2020
America’s small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Cities and states have implemented mandatory closures to prevent the spread of the virus, leading to widespread layoffs and uncertainty as to whether or not these businesses will survive.
I have spoken with hundreds of Oregon small businesses, especially those in the Portland area, who are experiencing serious challenges. Fortunately, some relief is on the way. On March 27, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to immediately bolster our health care response, aid individuals faced with unemployment and financial insecurity, and provide relief to businesses so they can pay their employees and weather this storm. 
Here are some of the resources available for small businesses that were included in the package:
  • Funding to create the Paycheck Protection Program that will provide small businesses and non-profits with easy to access loans of up to $10 million. If a business retains its employees and their salary levels, up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other qualified costs can be forgiven. Any remaining principal and interest payments are deferred for at least six months and all borrower fees are waived. This temporary emergency assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance established in the law or any other existing SBA loan program. If you are interested in taking advantage, talk to your lender, who can begin processing your application as soon as Friday, April 3.
  • Caps on how much a bank can earn to process loan applications and the prioritization of underserved borrowers, including those in rural communities, minorities, women and veterans.
  • Funding to provide an advance of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. These loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied a loan, and may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. The grant is available to small businesses, private nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well as cooperatives and employee-owned businesses.
  • Resources to ensure SBA can efficiently provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and implement the Paycheck Protection Program so businesses can quickly get the financial support they need. You may also want to visit the Small Business Administration’s website for more information.
To help Oregonians navigate the sweeping changes and newly-available resources, I have created a “COVID-19 economic stabilization resources” page on my website that I will update regularly:
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I'm working tirelessly to make sure they stay afloat during this public health crisis. And I'm making it a priority to advocate for expanded small business assistance in the next relief package so that small businesses in our community not only stay alive, but come out stronger on the other side.