The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are far-reaching, but few industries have been as impacted as local businesses, with many closing and laying off employees. For small businesses struggling to handle the stresses of the pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration is here to help.

The administration is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans for small businesses and nonprofits.

“The most important thing is to keep your employees on the payroll,” SBA lead economic development specialist Ahmad Goree said.

Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million, with the amount allotted for each business or nonprofit being determined by a projection of what the entity’s revenue would be over the next several months under normal circumstances, Goree said.

The SBA wants to work with individual businesses to make each loan work for the applicants, Goree said, and the loans include up to six months to decide if the business needs the money after applying, and a deferment for 12 months on the first payment. Though the loans do require collateral, Goree said the SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but rather will require borrowers to pledge what is available.

The working capital loans may then be used to pay any fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable or other bills that could have been paid had the pandemic not struck.

Almost every form of business, as well as several nonprofit organizations, are eligible to receive EID Loans, Goree said. Those that are ineligible include agricultural enterprises, religious organizations, charitable organizations and gambling businesses such as casinos.

To apply, business owners can visit www.disasterloan.sba.gov. Goree added that SBA employees will be available to help business owners through every step of the application process.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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