Small businesses impacted by coronavirus can apply for disaster assistance

Coronavirus

Businesses across the country are taking a major financial hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Waikiki is usually bustling with people, but lately it looks more like a ghost town. Stores are closed, streets are empty, and restaurants are only offering take-out and delivery options.

The District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Jane Sawyer, said COVID-19 has already crippled local businesses across the state.

“I think everyone has been quite amazed at how quickly they felt the impact,” said Sawyer. “People [are] saying, ‘We are really feeling the pain. We can’t meet our expenses. We can’t meet our overhead. It’s going to mean layoffs,’ and things like that,” she explained.

However, there is help available for small business owners. Each company that qualifies can receive up to $2 million in financial assistance.

“The SBA makes these loans directly, so you don’t even have to go to the bank. The terms can be up to 30 years, and the interest rate for that 30 year term is 3.75%,” Sawyer said about the disaster loans that have been made available due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To apply for the loans, go to www.sba.gov/disaster.

Any small business like a restaurant, tour operator or retail store that can prove the coronavirus outbreak has negatively impacted business can apply. The application period is open until December 21st, 2020.

“There are four forms and some financial information that they’ll need to submit,” Sawyer said about the application process. “It’ll take maybe three weeks to maybe a little bit more depending on the volume that SBA receives.”

If you have questions, the Hawaii SBA offices encourages you to contact them.

“We’re here to help small businesses. We’ll all get through this together.”

Email them directly at hawaiigeneral@sba.gov. You can also go to www.sba.gov/hi for more information.

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