The City of Charleston Business & Neighborhood Services Division has developed a COVID-19 resource list, located at www.charleston-sc.gov/covid19resourcelist, for the Charleston community to include essential resources, small business support, and recreation/education/entertainment resources, as well as opportunities to donate and volunteer to help those impacted by the coronavirus. Key resources for small businesses include:
Small Business Administration
SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets. Learn more at www.sba.gov/coronavirus
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Loan Advance: In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Businesses can apply here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
- Under this program:
- Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
- Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
- If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.
- Learn more here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program
- SBA Debt Relief: The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis. Under this program, The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.
- SBA Express Bridge Loans: Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Learn more here: https://www.sba.gov/document/support--express-bridge-loan-pilot-program-guide. Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with the SBA South Carolina District Office at 843-225-7430 or https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/sc/columbia.
Best Practices & Guidance
Small Business Development Center
As part of the CARES Act, SBDCs will be receiving additional funds to assist businesses impacted by the coronavirus, including help applying for financial assistance through the SBA. The Charleston Area SBDC can be reached at http://www.charlestonsbdc.com/, and businesses can request assistance at https://scsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/signup.
Lowcountry Local First
LLF has created a new COVID-19 Resource & Action Center at www.lowcountrylocalfirst.org/covid for local businesses that includes the answers to questions like:
What loans and grants are available to help my business?
What support is available to my employees?
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber is monitoring the COVID-19 coronavirus’ impact on our region and are equipping businesses with the information resources to prepare for the short-term response and long-term recovery. Learn more at https://www.charlestonchamber.org/coronavirus-resources/.
Curbside Relief Program
The City is implementing temporary Curbside Parking Relief Zones for use as Temporary Pickup Zones in order to provide support for local businesses that are fulfilling takeout services. Selection of relief zones is a fluid process--most zones are in areas where there are currently loading zones, on-street metered parking, or time-restricted parking. Businesses are encouraged to provide feedback about curbside parking relief zone locations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with requests to add or move temporary curbside parking relief zones.
Essential Business Exception Process
Businesses that believe they should be considered essential are asked to fill out the Essential Business Review Application on the city website. Applications will be reviewed daily by a committee made up of staff members from the city’s Legal and Emergency Management departments. The Review Committee will then forward recommendations to the mayor based on criteria established by the Department of Homeland Security. To view the application, visit: https://www.charleston-sc.gov/FormCenter/Corporation-Counsel-7/Essential-Business-Review-Application-94.
Deferred Hospitality Taxes
On March 27th, Charleston City Council passed an Emergency Ordinance to defer city hospitality taxes. The action aligns with Governor Henry McMaster’s tax deferral order of March 17, and provides more than a million dollars of immediate short-term relief to some of the hardest-hit small and locally-owned businesses in Charleston’s hospitality sector.
Many more resources for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus can be found at www.charleston-sc.gov/covid19resourcelist under the “Business” tab. This list is being continuously updated.
Please feel free to reach out to the Business & Neighborhood Services Division with any questions:
Director of Business & Neighborhood Services
Manager of Minority & Women-owned Business Enterprise Office