U.S. Chamber creates Coronavirus Loan Guide

The loan guide aims to help small businesses navigate the CARES Act

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a guide to help small businesses, independent contractors, and gig economy workers prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. Furthermore, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payroll during the crisis.

The U.S. Chamber’s Coronavirus Small Business Guide (available at uschamber.com/sbloans) outlines the steps small businesses should take now and prepare to access much-needed funds to help keep their workers on the payroll during this disruptive period. Further guides will be developed as the CARES Act becomes implemented.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is working with state and local chambers across the country to provide businesses with the information they need to stay afloat and keep people employed during the pandemic,” said Suzanne Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This comprehensive guide ensures small business owners fully understand what aid is available to them and how to access those funds as quickly as possible. We remain committed to ensuring no family or business goes bankrupt due to financial hardships associated with the coronavirus.”

Additionally, to help small businesses, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled an interactive map to show the aid available to them on a state-by-state basis.

The CARES act reflects the Chamber’s priorities in implementing the pausing the payment of payroll taxes, which will grant businesses relief so they have more cash to keep employees on their payrolls; creating lending and grants for small businesses that will enable this sector to endure through the crisis; and establishing a bridge loan facility that will enable businesses to continue to pay employees and provide essential operations for a time on far less, or no revenue. In Washington state, there are an estimated 155,625 small businesses and 2,768,660 small business employees. The potential aid for small businesses in Washington is about $8.7 billion. California, New York and Texas will be the recipients of the highest amounts of aid at $48.3, $28.3 and $27.3, respectively.

Washington Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine succinctly explains new unemployment benefits granted by the Federal Stimulus Bill here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B-T-kxalCk. She said it’s going to take about three weeks to get benefits up and running.

The stimulus bill includes three provisions that will help many individuals:

  • Additional compensation added to unemployment benefits
  • An extension of unemployment benefits for up to 13 weeks
  • Unemployment assistance for many individuals who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits

In addition, many small businesses in Washington are eligible for SBA disaster loans, but not in Clark County. The latest for employers and workers at the state level is available here. Follow the local Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s COVID-19 response here.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.