Coronavirus: State applies to feds for business ‘disaster’ loans

Restaurants in Springfield are either closed of only open for take out Monday due to the health crisis. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Restaurants in Springfield are either closed of only open for take out Monday due to the health crisis. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Ohio government is asking the U.S. Small Business Administration to make disaster loans available to small businesses.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration applied to the SBA to qualify Ohio for the “economic injury disaster loan” program, the state said. This program allows low-interest loans up to $2 million.

Information about the program and ways to apply are available at SBA.gov/Disaster.

The loans may be used by small businesses and non-profits to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent.

Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible, the state said.

“We understand the steps being taken to keep all Ohioans safe will have a significant impact on businesses across the state, which is why we are leaving no stone unturned to identify every possible way we can support them during this time,” DeWine said in a statement. “Ohioans are resilient. We will get us through this.”

This week, the Ohio Department of Health ordered Ohio bars and restaurants closed to in-house patrons. Restaurants with take-out and delivery services are still allowed to offer those services.

The disaster loans are long-term, with up to 30 years for repayment, Ohio government said. Terms are determined case-by-case, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

“In the last three days, more than 1,500 businesses have shared their stories with us about the challenges they are facing, which informed our application for these disaster loans,” Lydia Mihalik, Ohio director of development, said in the state’s release. “The need is urgent, and we are moving quickly to support Ohio’s small businesses and non-profits.”

Businesses impacted by the health crisis are encouraged to contact the state at BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.Gov for assistance.

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