The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued revised criteria for states seeking an economic injury declaration due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to a March 17 press release, the relaxed criteria will make it faster and easier for states to qualify for SBA disaster assistance.

Previously, the SBA required them to document that at least five small businesses suffered substantial economic injury due to a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county. The new criteria only require states to certify that at least five small businesses suffered economic injury, regardless of their location.

Also, the SBA expanded small businesses’ statewide access to disaster assistance loans. Typically, they are only available in specific counties identified by the governor as disaster areas. The new criteria make the loans available statewide following an economic injury declaration related to coronavirus – including both current and future declarations.

SBA’s economic injury disaster loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. The loans can help companies overcome temporary revenue losses and can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofits. Long-term repayments are available, up to 30 years, depending on each borrower’s ability to repay.

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