Financial help for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Apr. 6, 2020 at 9:20 PM CDT
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With the Safer at Home order, many business owners are struggling to make ends meet since they are unable to do business as normal.

Small business owners like Kathy White of Woofs n Wags Pet grooming have had to close their doors. Because pet grooming is deemed “non-essential” under the Safer at Home guidelines, White is without an income.

Businesses with fewer than 500 employees, like Whites, are eligible for some loan options to get them through this time, according to Luke Kempen, director of the Small Business Development Center at UW-Eau Claire.

“I plan on taking advantage of some of those options because i mean we all have bills and our monthly regular expenses,” White says.

One is the Small Business Administration's Disaster Loan meant to provide income replacement and help with other operating expenses.

A second option is the CARES ACT, which went into law in late March and allows businesses to cover payroll for employees along with helping out with mortgage and rent over an 8 week period.

“The goal of the loan program is to help employers keep employees off of unemployment compensation and to keep these employees active and available so when the economy starts back up they have these employees ready to go and move forward with them,” Kempen says.

Business owners can apply for the disaster assistance loan on the SBA website and can apply for the CARES Act through their bank or credit union.

Business owners who have already laid-off employees can still apply for the loan so they could bring their employees back.

White says once this is all over it will be especially important that people continue to support local small businesses.