COVID Small Business Relief: Loans and Grants
Depending on the size of your small business, you may be qualified for certain loans and grants on both the federal and state level.
What is considered a small business?
Small businesses are defined based on what type of industry they belong to. To determine if your business is considered to be a small business by the Small Business Administration, visit the SBA Size Standards webpage.
COVID Federal Small Business Help
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing disaster loan assistance in all states. These low-interest loans are targeted toward small businesses and nonprofits that have experienced severe economic injury due to the coronavirus.
As part of the Coronavirus Aid Package (CARES Act), small businesses can also apply for forgivable loans that can be used to pay employees and fund other day-to-day business operations. To learn more, visit our guide to the CARES Act.
The Paycheck Protection Program
One of the most important features of the federal stimulus package is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), designed specifically to help small businesses stay in business and keep their employees on payroll. To learn more about the PPP and how your business can apply for a PPP loan, read our Guide to the Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses.
COVID State Small Business Help
As of April 2nd, 2020, the State of Texas has no state-regulated loans or grants that are extended to small businesses affected by the coronavirus. For business resource updates related to the coronavirus, visit the Texas Economic Development website.
Texas does offer small businesses the Small Business Incubator Fund, which provides asset-backed loans between $1 million and $5 million for new or existing Texas businesses. There is also a Product Development Fund with similar loans designed to stimulate the creation and commercialization of new products created by Texas businesses. You can learn more about both funds on the Texas Economic Development website.
COVID Small Business Relief: Private Sources
Some private companies and organizations have established grants for small business relief. Facebook is one such company. The Facebook small business grant was created to help small business owners amid disruptions that are being caused by the coronavirus.
Certain credit card companies and banks, like Bank of America, are also offering economic relief for their small business members.
For a larger list, visit our guide to private grants for small business relief.
The federal government has extended the payment deadline for all first-quarter tax payments from April 15th, 2020 to July 15th, 2020. Small businesses must file IRS Form 7004 to extend their tax payments, while individuals must file IRS Form 4868.
State Tax Relief
The Texas Comptroller will be granting extensions to file a franchise tax report with prompt notice to the Comptroller. For more information, read the franchise tax extension update.
The Texas Workforce Commission has extended the first quarter 2020 tax reports and payments to May 15, 2020.
For coronavirus-related updates, visit the Texas Comptroller’s website.
Changes to Federal Paid Leave
As of March 18th, 2020, the federal government is providing certain workers paid sick leave in the event that they are ill, quarantined, or seeking medical care.
This relief act applies to employees at small, midsize, and nonprofit companies so long as the employee has been employed for more than 30 days. For more information, you can read the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
The Department of Labor also recommends that small business employers check if their employee’s sick leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If an employee or their family is incapacitated due to the coronavirus (or any pandemic illness), their employer is required to provide job-protected, unpaid leave.
So long as employers are covered, they are required to abide by federal FMLA and state FMLA laws. For more information on the FMLA, check out the Department of Labor’s website.
In the event that your small business undergoes financial difficulties during the coronavirus spread, consider implementing these guidelines for the good of your business and its employees:
- Consider putting employees on temporary leave instead of terminating them
- Communicate with customers regarding business closures, reduction of hours, or maintenance changes
- Diversify your suppliers or stock inventory with an adequate amount of supplies to last an extended period of time
- Contact your insurance agent to review any business interruption policies that your business may have in place
- Prepare a plan with your employees regarding present and future business actions regarding the virus
- Review your emergency business continuity plan. If you don’t have one, take a look at New York’s Emergency Planning Process Sheet.
- Determine whether your business is considered essential or nonessential. Visit our guide to essential businesses for more information.
For more business solutions, visit the SBA website.
As of March 22, 2020, the State of Texas has made no coronavirus-related changes to any laws or rules concerning unemployment benefits. However, the Texas Workforce Commission is waiving work search requirements and waiting weeks for workers directly affected by the pandemic.
For more employer information about unemployment benefits, visit the Texas Workforce Commission’s website. For more jobseeker information about unemployment benefits, you can also visit the Texas Workforce Commission’s website.
NOTE: Workers cannot file for unemployment if they are receiving any kind of direct financial help from your business.
Small business employers should also establish strategies with their employees and customers to avoid spreading the virus:
- Encourage sick employees and customers to stay home
- Separate sick employees from the rest of the employees and encourage them to go home
- Practice good self-hygiene
- Avoid travel
- Clean all work environments routinely and thoroughly
NOTE: On April 2, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued a "stay-at-home" order for all Texans and nonessential businesses through the month of April.
The best way to prevent the spread of the virus in your business is to create a “work from home” policy. If your business is able to provide remote work opportunities for its employees, consider the following strategies:
- Invest in new technologies and software
- Provide remote training for employees
- Establish a remote communication system
- Enforce a daily routine
- Trust in your employees’ ability to stay on track