Resources for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses in Response to COVID-19

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

As the news about coronavirus (COVID-19) reverberates throughout the world, our thoughts are with those impacted globally, throughout the United States, and in our local communities. 

We recognize that our tenants may be particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures and are providing information about resources available to help small businesses address the economic impacts of Covid-19.  We contiue to monitor COVID-19 impacts on the community and the difficulties our tenants are facing.  As the situation evolves, we are updating this page to provide information on additional resources and small business funding and relief programs.

On April 24, 2020, the President signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act (the “Act”), amending the CARES Act to increase funds available to eligible businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”) by approximately $310 billion, replenishing the initial $349 billion appropriation for the PPP. The Act sets aside a portion of the appropriated funds to be used for PPP loans made by smaller lenders and also allots approximately $10 billion to the SBA for administration of the program. Additionally, there is a dedicated allotment of $100 billion for healthcare providers and researchers while another $10 billion is earmarked to replenish the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Many of these programs are outlined on the United States Small Business Administration website, which provides information about several Covid-19 relief options, including the Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL Loan Advances, SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief. Please visit their website to learn more. 

Please see highlights of some of these programs below, together with links that will bring you to websites that will provide you with additional information.  We also encourage you to speak with your financial and/or tax advisors to ensure you understand all the assistance that may be available to you. 

SBA 7(a) Loans (Paycheck Protection Program)

The CARES Act allocated funds to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program(“PPP”) and administered by the Small Business Administration, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to provide eligible entities with loans to cover the costs of payroll, healthcare benefits, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, and certain other obligations.  Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

Importantly, the PPP addresses businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries that would ordinarily not qualify as “small businesses” under governing SBA guidelines.  Specifically, it waives the small business requirements for those industries to allow entities to potentially benefit from the PPP so long as they have no greater than 500 employees in a physical location, even if they are otherwise part of a larger company or affiliated with/franchises of a larger company.  These waivers do not apply to other retail entities.

Visit the Small Business Administration to learn more about PPP:  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp

Highlights of the PayCheck Protection Program include the following:

Loan Amount

Loans can be up to 2.5 times the borrower’s average monthly payroll costs, not to exceed $10 million.

Eligibility

You are eligible if you are:

  • A small business with fewer than 500 employees
  • A small business that otherwise meets the SBA’s size standard
  • A 501(c)(3) with fewer than 500 employees
  • An individual who operates as a sole proprietor
  • An individual who operates as an independent contractor
  • An individual who is self-employed who regularly carries on any trade or business
  • A Tribal business concern that meets the SBA size standard
  • A 501(c)(19) Veterans Organization that meets the SBA size standard

In addition, some special rules may make you eligible:

  • If you are in the accommodation and food services sector (NAICS 72), the 500-employee rule is applied on a per physical location basis
  • If you are operating as a franchise or receive financial assistance from an approved Small Business Investment Company the normal affiliation rules do not apply

Note: The 500-employee threshold includes all employees: full-time, part-time, and any other status.

Evaluation Criteria

In evaluating eligibility, lenders are directed to consider whether the borrower was in operation before February 15, 2020 and had employees for whom they paid salaries and payroll taxes or paid independent contractors.  Lenders will also ask you for a good faith certification that:

  • The uncertainty of current economic conditions makes the loan request necessary to support ongoing operations
  • The borrower will use the loan proceeds to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage, lease, and utility payments
  • Borrower does not have an application pending for a loan duplicative of the purpose and amounts applied for here
  • From Feb. 15, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020, the borrower has not received a loan duplicative of the purpose and amounts applied for here (Note: There is an opportunity to fold emergency loans made between Jan. 31, 2020 and the date this loan program becomes available into a new loan)

If you are an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or self-employed individual, lenders will also be looking for certain documents (final requirements will be announced by the government) such as payroll tax filings, Forms 1099-MISC, and income and expenses from the sole proprietorship.

Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”)

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

For the Covered Period, EIDL eligibility is greatly expanded to include any business with not more than 500 employees operating under a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor, and any cooperative, ESOP and tribal small business concern with not more than 500 employees. The number of employees is determined together with affiliates.

This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

For additional information and to apply for a loan, visit the Small Business Administration website:   https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

Tax Code Adjustments

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19

In addition to expanded unemployment benefits and tax rebates for individuals, the CARES Act provides targeted adjustments to the tax code for businesses.  Again, to encourage businesses to keep workers on the payroll, the legislation provides a refundable payroll credit to those employers whose operations were either suspended due to a shutdown order or whose gross receipts declined by more than 50% during a calendar quarter.  The legislation also defers the employer share of payroll taxes over a two-year period in subsequent tax years (2021 and 2022).

For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service website at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-employee-retention-credit-available-for...

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

There are many other resources available at this time.  We’ve highlighted some below, together with links to the respective websites, which can be reached by clicking on the name of the program or agency.

U.S. Treasury - Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Department of Labor have announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.  This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC has provided interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare and respond to the pandemic.

Job Creators Network   

The Job Creators Network provides an overview of the CARES Act and regularly updates information on resources for small businesses.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce website provides an excellent small business guide to the CARE Act.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses during this challenging time.

Forbes Small Business Relief Tracker

Updated daily, Forbes has compiled a list of the government agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations that are offering support to small business owners.

Google Ad Credits

Google has dedicated $340 million in ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses with active Google Ad accounts, to stay in touch with their customers during this difficult time. Users who have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 will receive a credit notification in their account in the coming months, and the credits can be used at any point during 2020 across all Google Ads platforms.

ICSC Coronavirus Update

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) provides updates for the shopping center industry with U.S. state-by-state business closures and mandates, a summary of legislative action to support relief for small business owners, and various additional resources.

Main Street America

Main Street America, a program of the National Main Street Center, is compiling resources, opportunities, and community response examples to help Main Street districts during this crisis. Content includes information on funding sources along with webinars and tip sheets.

National Governors Association

The National Governors Association website outlines the steps each state is taking to address Coronavirus, including legislative action, along with updates from the Centers for Disease Control.

Restaurant Worker Relief

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has compiled a list of national and local relief resources for restaurant workers.

Yelp Free Advertising

Yelp is waiving advertising fees for many independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses and is offering free access to page upgrades including Business Highlights, Call To Action, and Connect. The company is also offering $100 in free search advertising for restaurant clients offering delivery and/or takeout.

Information prepared by New England Development, April 1, 2020.  Updated information to be published on an ongoing basis.