SBA to Provide Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We are working with our strategic partner, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), to stay up-to-date on all resources available for the business community. As of this morning, the Chamber has received initial guidance from the SBA regarding the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. As we get more information, we will share it with the membership.
U.S. Small Business Administration is offering
designated states and territories
federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
- Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
- Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
- SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
Step 1 to Obtaining SBA Disaster Assistance (the only action that can be taken at this time is to create an account, anyone planning to apply for a loan is advised to get financials in order):
How Does the Coronavirus Spread?
Coronavirus typically spreads between people within six feet of each other through respiratory secretions, especially coughing and sneezing. Currently, it is unknown whether the virus can be transmitted by touching a surface with the virus on it.
What Can Employers Do Now?
It is imperative that employers maintain open communication with their employees. Employers should ensure that they have updated contact information for current employees and stay informed of the latest news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease.” The CDC recommends employers begin implementing the following steps now:
- Talk with your employees
- Encourage employees with acute respiratory illnesses to stay home
- Separate sick employees
- Emphasize cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene
- Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Advise employees about the risks prior to travel to countries that have had a significant outbreak
- Consider informing employees in the case of possible exposure in the workplace
Can Employers Require Employees to Undergo Medical Examinations?
As stated in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” employers may not require medical examinations under the ADA unless the medical exam is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Whether a medical exam is job-related and consistent with business necessity depends upon the facts presented (e.g., what are the employee’s symptoms, where has the employee been, etc.) and the latest CDC guidance on Coronavirus.
What Actions Can Employers Take in the Case of a Pandemic?
In the case of a pandemic, employers have the right to send employees home if they show Coronavirus-like symptoms at work. Also, employers may inquire if employees are experiencing Coronavirus-like symptoms as long as they are mindful of confidentiality obligations. Finally, if an employee returns from traveling during a pandemic, an employer may ask the employee whether they are returning from a location where that individual may have been exposed to the virus.
We are actively monitoring both the government guidance on the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, as well as the best practices of other convening organizations. We will keep you updated on our events and share further resources regarding Coronavirus as information is available.
Co-Founder & Board Chair
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber
pronouns: she / her / hers