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Alabama businesses now eligible for disaster loans

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Saturday that small businesses across the state adversely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak are now eligible for assistance under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

The program has been established to help qualified businesses and nonprofits weather the economic storm being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is forcing businesses all across the state to cut hours and staff as state health orders enforce strict social distancing guidelines.

“Small businesses represent the backbone of Alabama’s economy, and many of them need immediate help in these trying times,” Ivey said in a Saturday press release. “My team has worked closely with the SBA in recent days to make this economic assistance possible. We’re all grateful to President Trump and the SBA for responding rapidly to the problems faced by small businesses in Alabama.”

The loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for eligible small businesses – the low-interest loans are meant to provide “vital economic support” to small businesses reeling from the economic fallout the virus has caused and can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that have fallen by the wayside as a result of the crisis.

Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield stated that he has heard from numerous small business owners being squeezed by the sudden decline in economic activity stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak and noted that their survival is essential for the state’s survival.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities all across Alabama, employing local residents and sustaining economic vitality,” Canfield said. “It’s critical that small businesses around the state remain healthy and the SBA’s disaster loan program could prove to be a lifeline for many of them.”

Canfield’s department worked with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Alabama Small Business Development Center to prepare the state’s application for the program, which was approved Saturday.

“This was a team effort that will help many small business owners in Alabama make it through this crisis and move forward to thrive once again,” Ivey said.

According to numbers from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, there are almost 400,000 small businesses in Alabama that employ nearly half of the state’s workers.