Here’s how central Texas small businesses can apply for federal CARES Act loans

Business

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Thursday three things will keep the American economy afloat: payments to individuals, enhanced unemployment and small business loans.

Friday, small business owners and self-employed people who are eligible can start applying for the Small Business Administration-backed loans to help them cover payroll and other expenses during the COVID-19 crisis.

What kind of loans are available

If you’re a business owner who needs help covering payroll, you can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. The loan is forgivable if you use a certain amount of it to cover payroll for eight weeks and the compensation level remains the same.

If you need cash now, you’ll want to take a look at the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

  • You can find the SBA breakdown of resources here.

Before starting the application process, Veronica Briseno, Austin’s Economic Development Director, said, “I do urge businesses to start looking at things like pulling together their past couple years of tax returns, their balance sheet, making sure that that’s current and looking at the SBA website.”

The Workforce Solutions Capital Area has also posted a summary of CARES Act programs here.

At the state level, the Share Work program lets business owners cut people’s hours, instead of laying them off. The state then gives those workers partial unemployment benefits.

Tamara Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, said the state can also “help purchase equipment. That can be software. That can be different technology for your workers to work remotely.”

Local businesses switching to to-go models

At the end of February, Jules Winson opened a second location of Cafe Monet. Shortly after the studio opened though, both locations had to close due to Austin-Travis County’s Stay Home Work Safe order.

“Oh gosh, I mean it’s been extremely difficult,” she said. “We rely on our business to support our family and we employ 18 people, so we have two locations. And it’s just been extremely difficult to see what my staff are going through, trying to help them.”

Cafe Monet is a pottery studio where people can come and make their own pottery. Even though the studio doors are closed for now, Winson said she didn’t lay off her employees.

They’ve been selling pottery-to-go and clay-to-go kits and delivering them to customers.

“Pottery-to-go has been excellent,” she told KXAN. “People purchase it directly on our website and they can even pick their paint colors there. We had several birthday parties that had to be postponed, so we’re sending out birthday kits to go that they get to surprise their children with, and they do virtual play dates and paint together.”

But still, to-go kit sales don’t make up for all the losses, so Winson said she’s planning on applying for the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Having a small business, we’re a family, so it’s just as important for me to keep Cafe Monet going as it is for my staff, they’ve been with me for years you know. It’s important that we all get through this together,” she said.

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