FAQ: Small Business Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Q: How do I get cash now to keep my business afloat? Every day counts, and my business can’t survive through any kind of waiting period.

A: Apply for the Payroll Protection Program – otherwise known as a “Triple P”/PPP loan.

  • This $349 billion relief program is intended to help businesses with fewer than 500 employees by lending them up to two months of payroll costs. Self-employed and contract workers are also eligible for this loan.

The money is intended for payroll purposes, but can be used for other expenses as long as the loan is repaid at a 1 percent interest rate over two years. If businesses use at least 75 percent of the loan amount for payroll purposes within eight weeks, the federal government will forgive the loan – essentially converting it into a grant.

How to apply: See here for a list of lenders that are currently accepting PPP applications from new clients. I also recommend checking with your existing bank to see if they are offering PPP, or using SBA’s lender search feature to find a lender near you. More information and details on eligibility.


Q: What are my other options for loan support – both in the short- and long-term?

A: Apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

  • EIDLs are low interest loans of up to $2 million that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred – including payroll and other operating expenses.

    The loan includes an advance of up to $10,000 for anyone who applies (regardless of approval), and the advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance. The loan may be used to keep employees on payroll, pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.

    How to apply: These loans are made directly through the Small Business Administration, and you can apply at https://covid19relief.sba.gov. The SBA has streamlined the application process for COVID-19 response. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Q: How do I take care of my employees? Do I have to lay them off for them to receive unemployment benefits?

A: No, it is not necessary to lay off your employees in order for them to receive benefits. Employees can still file for unemployment insurance while on the payroll at their company if their hours have been substantially reduced.

Q: What is the state doing to meet this need?

A: Governor Newsom issued two executive orders to financially assist small businesses. On March 30, the Governor ordered a 90-day extension for tax returns and tax payments for all businesses filing a return for less than $1M.

Then on April 2, he announced $50M for small businesses that may not be eligible for federal relief. This funding will also allow businesses impacted by COVID-19 to defer payments of sales and use taxes up to $50K, for up to 12 months.

The Administration also launched a new online platform to help connect displaced California workers with thousands of job opportunities in a range of industries. Residents can access and apply for these jobs at https://onwardca.org.


This page will be continually updated with new resources from state and local agencies.