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Disaster loans available for small businesses hurt by COVID-19

MARSHALL — The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant closing down whole categories of businesses in Minnesota, from bars to hair salons. And many businesses that are still open have also felt an impact.

Now, in an effort to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration is making disaster loans available to Minnesota businesses. Minnesota is among the states where the low-interest loans are available to cover small businesses’ operating expenses after a disaster declaration was made.

Small businesses are now eligible for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, the city of Marshall announced Monday. Both the city and Minnesota Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, were encouraging local businesses facing hardships to seek relief through the loan program.

“Small businesses in our state have had their bottom lines turned upside down almost overnight by this coronavirus outbreak,” Swedzinski said in a Monday news release. “This disaster loan assistance program is a way local businesses can get some immediate relief as we work our way through this challenge and are able to fully assess the economic damage. While we are busy working on plans to provide other resources at the state level and the federal government also may act, the SBA program is something many business owners can access now to aid their circumstances.”

Marshall officials said the disaster loans won’t be the only resource available to local businesses.

“The Marshall Economic Development Authority and Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce are connecting with our businesses on the impact of COVID-19 on their business,” said Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson. “We will continue to look at possible ways we can support our businesses and encourage our businesses to continue to share information so we can advocate short and long-term solutions.”

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said the disaster loan program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private nonprofits. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other expenses that can’t be paid due to the pandemic. The maximum unsecured loan is $25,000, and loans over $25,000 require collateral.

The loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years, at 37.5% interest. Businesses can defer payment for the first four months.

Several different types of small businesses are eligible for the loans, including retailers, manufacturers, rental property owners, hotels, travel agencies, recreational facilities and more, the city of Marshall’s announcement said.

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