Culpeper Star-Exponent: Spanberger releases guide to help small businesses hit by pandemic


With a statewide stay-at-home order in effect and many Virginia businesses closed or running at low throttle, entrepreneurs need help navigating COVID-19’s financial impacts.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger released a 12-page booklet of how-to FAQs and online tips to aid Central Virginia’s small businesses in learning about federal, state and corporate resources they can tap.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our regional economy, and many employers in our district are already feeling the immense financial pain created by this crisis,” the 7th District lawmaker said in a statement. “They are worried about the security of their employees, and they are worried about how they will make payroll in the weeks to come.”

Local businesses need immediate assistance, Spanberger said, expressing hope that her new guide can answer some of their questions.

“As this pandemic continues to disrupt the everyday lives of workers and businesses across Central Virginia, my office stands ready to help our small businesses access the resources and guidance they need to reopen their doors, restart our economy, and achieve long-term success,” she said.

The guide touches on the newly passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress created to provide cash-flow assistance through loans guaranteed 100 percent by the federal government.

The CARES Act’s Payment Protection Program allows for loan forgiveness to employers who maintain their payroll during the national emergency the president declared due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Via the program, businesses can apply for loan forgiveness for payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest. But if a business fires employees or cuts employee pay, the loan forgiveness would be reduced.

The guide also offers information on Small Business Administration disaster loans and economic injury grants, as well as contacts for banks working with people whose finances have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The SBA disaster loans, for small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout Virginia, offer up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other expenses.

The guide also includes state and local resources, and details which Virginia retail businesses are considered “essential” and may stay open during normal hours.

To download a PDF of Spanberger’s small business resource guide, click here.

Last week, the freshman legislator voted with a big majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the CARES Act, a bipartisan emergency-relief package that includes federal assistance to working families and small businesses.

The act includes $349 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses with 500 or fewer employees. Loans are available for independent contractors, self-employed workers and sole proprietors.

Earlier this month, Spanberger announced that Central Virginia businesses can apply for low-interest, emergency loan assistance through the SBA.

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