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NY firms eligible for federal disaster-relief loans due to coronavirus

SBA administrator Jovita Carranza said the loans "may

SBA administrator Jovita Carranza said the loans "may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the [COVID-19] disaster's impact." Credit: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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Businesses hit hard by the coronavirus have the go-ahead to apply for government loans after Uncle Sam on Thursday issued an economic disaster declaration for all of New York’s 62 counties, officials said.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans are for up to $2 million per applicant and can be repaid over a maximum of 30 years.

To be eligible, companies must have 500 or fewer employees and be unable to secure other financing to keep operating, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, which runs the program.

"These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact," SBA administrator Jovita Carranza said Thursday, referring to the coronavirus. "Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing."

The interest rate on the loans is 3.75%, the declaration states. The loan program has been used for years to help companies recover from natural disasters, such as superstorm Sandy in 2012.

SBA also provides disaster loans to private nonprofits with an interest rate of 2.75%, said Matt Coleman, a spokesman for the agency’s Region II, which includes New York State.

Information about applying for a loan can be found at sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance or by calling 800-659-2955. The application deadline is Dec. 21.

The agency’s Small Business Development Centers, which often are hosted by colleges and universities, can help applicants navigate the loan application process. The services are usually free of charge.

Locally, there are SBDCs at Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University. 

“We are in full disaster assistance mode,” Erica Chase-Gregory, who leads the Farmingdale center, said Thursday. Loan applicants needing help can send an email to sbdc@farmingdale.edu or call 934-420-2765.

Ree S. Wackett, a business counselor at the Stony Brook center, said it’s ready to assist loan applicants via email at frontdesksbdc@stonybrook.edu or 631-632-9070.

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