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Small business owners wary to accept available federal COVID aid

The COVID EIDL loan would allow business owners to borrow $2 million for recovery. But some worry about the commitment.
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 7:42 AM AKDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Disaster loans are available for small business owners as the country faces the next chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic: the Delta variant.

“You can use these funds to invest in your business to get it onto recovery track,” said Veronica Pugin, a senior advisor with the Small Business Administration.

Pugin said the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan—or EIDL program will continue through the end of the year.

She said borrowers can apply to receive up to $2 million from the SBA to help cover pandemic-related expenses. The repayment period is 30 years.

“The repayment terms are much more generous than other expenses and financial demands that we’re seeing businesses grappling with today,” Pugin said.

The SBA has so far approved over 3.8 million loans totaling nearly $260 billion. But some small business owners are wary of the commitment of a loan.

Unlike the earlier Payment Protection Program loans that became grant money during the height of the pandemic, EIDL loans will have to be repaid. Frank Knapp, the co-chair of the nonpartisan group Small Business for America’s Future said that could be more of a burden than aid to some businesses.

“People are less likely to want to take out a loan,” Knapp said. “They may want to just struggle to get by than to owe somebody money.”

Knapp said other government proposals: like the infrastructure package, and child care improvements, can better help address both the financial and labor needs of small businesses.

“All of these programs help put money on Main Street through the people, workers, through families,” He said. “All of that is good for small business.”

But with Congress still debating the infrastructure package in the House, businesses will have to wait a little longer for that relief.

Small business owners can visit sba.gov for information about the EIDL loan and to fill out their application.

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