Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for April 7, 2020

Helping Our State’s Small Businesses Navigate Trying Times

I believe one of the groups hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus is our state’s small businesses. These important businesses make up the backbone of our state’s economy. While many of them face an uncertain future due to the financial toll of the virus, I wanted to highlight an important program in this week’s column that I believe could make a difference in a business’ ability to keep their doors open.

On March 21, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved the governor’s request for aid through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). Through the program, eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in loans to help him them through these tough times. Below are more details regarding these loans offered by the SBA.

Eligibility – Groups applying for these loans must have been operational as of Feb. 15, 2020, and cannot employ more than 500 employees. Eligible organizations include small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) veterans organizations, sole-proprietors, independent contractors and other self-employed individuals. Businesses with more than one physical location are still eligible as long as their total combined employees are under the 500-employee requirement.

Loan Terms – The SBA will provide up to $2 million in disaster aid to a qualified business. The actual amount of each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by the SBA. Groups utilizing these loans will not be charged upfront fees or early payment penalties. Interest rates for small businesses is 3.75 percent, and interest rates for nonprofits is 2.75 percent.

Loan Repayment – Groups using these loans are eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount they spend on eligible costs. The amount forgiven cannot exceed the principal amount of the loan. In addition, the amount forgiven will be reduced if an entity does not retain their employees or significantly cuts their employees’ pay.

Allowable Use of Loans – Groups using these loans can use the aid for payroll support, fixed debts, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid if the disaster had not occurred.

To apply for the loan program, please visit For more information regarding the SBA’s other disaster relief programs, please visit These are trying times for all of us, especially our state’s small businesses. As we stay at home and practice social distancing, I urge you – if possible – to support our community’s small businesses. While we might not be able to visit our favorite restaurant or coffee shop in person, order takeout or buy a gift card to use once we have flattened the curve. These groups are more than just businesses; they are our neighbors, our family members and our friends. They were there for us in the past when we needed a helping hand, let’s return the favor and make sure everyone gets through these difficult times.

It is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at if you have any questions or concerns — we are honored to serve you.