Heading into the new year, we know there are a lot of questions about small business loans and grants that grew from the pandemic. Below are some important COVID loan updates, including PPP, EIDL, SVOG and more.

Are COVID grants and loans still available?

When COVID-19 started, the federal government supported small businesses with grants and loans. You may now be wondering if those opportunities are still available. Let’s take a look. 

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

The EIDL was a business loan directly from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help overcome the effects of the COVID pandemic by providing working capital to meet operating expenses. Unlike a grant (which you don’t have to pay back), this was a loan, so it must be repaid. However, this was a long-term loan with a low-interest, fixed-rate.

According to the SBA, as of January 2022, it is no longer accepting new applications for this program. However, you may still be eligible if you applied before the deadline. Additionally, if you were approved for a loan, you can request an increase up to your maximum eligible loan amount for up to two years after your loan origination date.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)

The SVOG provided provided emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by COVID-19. Unfortunately, the SBA is no longer accepting these applications. 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The PPP was an SBA-backed loan that helped businesses keep their workforce employed. Although the program ended in 2021, borrowers are still eligible for loan forgiveness. 

Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)

This program provided emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID to help them stay open. This program is like a grant because recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as the funds were used on eligible expenses. Unfortunately, applications are now closed for this program.

Other Federal Grants

The US government sponsors thousands of grants every year. While most are best suited for local governments, non-profits, and educational institutions, there are some that allow small businesses to apply. After taking a quick look in the Grants.gov database, it looks like there are a handful of COVID-related grants available that small businesses can still apply for.

However, before you jump on this opportunity, it’s important to note that these grants aren’t simply “free money”, but rather money to accomplish very specific tasks (usually research), and are only given after a formal grant proposal is submitted and accepted. 

State-Based Funding Opportunities

If you’re feeling discouraged, we’re happy to report there is still hope. Some states provide COVID business relief through grants, loans, and other programs.

For example, the California State Controller’s Office has a California Rebuilding Fund as well as a Small Business License Fee Exemptions for certain businesses. To see if your state has COVID grants or loans, check out your state’s controller’s office for available programs. 

Are COVID loans forgivable?

Yes and no. There were many types of loans given out in relation to COVID. Some are forgivable, while others are not. 

Forgivable Loans

The PPP and the RRF are both examples of forgivable loans. That being said, it’s important to note that certain qualifications had to be met for the loans to be forgiven.

For example, the PPP required employers to maintain employee and compensation levels, and the loan was spent on eligible expenses (60% of which had to be payroll costs). Additionally, the borrower must apply for forgiveness and provide documentation to prove the funds were used appropriately once the funds are used. 

Non-Forgivable Loans

The EIDL loan is an example of a loan that is not forgivable. Luckily, however, this is a long-term loan with a very low-interest rate. Additionally, payments don’t start until 2 years after the loan was received. 

How much are COVID loans?

COVID loans vary in size based on many factors, including the size of the business, revenue, and payroll costs. For example, the EIDL loan was a maximum of $500,000, the RRF provided restaurants with up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location, and the PPP was a maximum of $10 million for first-draw loans and $2 million for second-draw loans.

Is the PPP grant still available?

This program ended in 2021. 

What is the COVID business grant for?

Various types of grants and loans were given out to help small businesses at the beginning of the pandemic. Here’s a quick snapshot of what they were for.

COVID-19 EIDL

The EIDL was a business loan directly from the SBA that provided working capital to meet operating expenses.

Paycheck Protection Program

The PPP was an SBA-backed loan that helped businesses keep their workforce employed by providing a loan for payroll and other qualified expenses.

Shutter Venues Operators Grant

The SVOG was a grant that provided emergency assistance for eligible venues (live venue operators, theatrical producers, performing arts organizations, museums, etc.) affected by COVID.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

This program provided emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses to help keep their doors open. 

Is the COVID small business grant taxable?

There were many grant and loan programs operating early in the pandemic, but not are were taxable. It’s important to know which ones are. The EIDL loan, the SVOG, and the RRF, for example, are not taxable. Additionally, many states opt not to tax PPP loans, but some do

How to Maintain Your Business Operations

Here are some of the top issues to keep top of mind as you plan for the future of your business.

Keep your employees satisfied

Now is the time to rethink how your employees will work long-term and how that will impact your business, your employee benefits, and your hiring practices. This could include letting people work remotely/hybrid, reviewing your benefits and more. 

Keep your books healthy

Due to federal funding, supply chain shortages, inflation, and tax law changes, there are a lot of new factors that changed how your finances look. If you haven’t created new financial projections, now is the time to do so. 

Pay attention to those tough lessons

Take some time and think about what you’ve learned the past two years. Maybe you need more cash or supply reserves. Perhaps you need a better crisis management plan. Think about making your business stronger going forward. More than anything, stay focused on your goals.

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