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Two federal programs can help small businesses stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic

The programs do not require repayment.

AUSTIN, Texas — Small businesses are trying to keep the doors open.

The federal government gives business owners money to keep workers employed.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) met online with employers and the Austin Chamber of Commerce about what can be offered.

Two programs are in place right now that may not require repayment – the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance.

The PPP is a loan to keep workers on the payroll.

"SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities," the administration shows on its website.

"Our first suggestion is they check with the lender that they do business with to see if they can get the loan through them. Different banks have quite different criteria because it's a large program, large demand," said Elsie Collins, deputy director for the SBA Dallas/Fort Worth office.

In some cases the PPP loan would not need to be repaid.

"The [PPP] loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities [due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll] ... Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease," the administration shows online.

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Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance can get business owners up to $10,000.

"The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," shows the administration online.

It’s for businesses with less than 500 employees, and it includes sole proprietorship, independent contractors, those self-employed, private nonprofit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.

"Whether or not you have an employee, it doesn't matter. You're eligible under that program," said Collins.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

"The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid," the administration shows online.

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