The impact of COVID-19 has been felt across the business community, and local, national and federal programs have been developed to offer financial relief. This page consolidates the options available to your business and provides insight about how to navigate the application process.
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Congress passed new legislation that was signed into law in December which was designed to support individuals and businesses dealing with the economic and health impact of the coronavirus. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury are guiding the programs created in the CARES Act and updated in this legislation. On this page we will focus on the primary small business assistance programs which may be beneficial to your business. All SBA resources can be found here. https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Determine the Right Option(s) for Your Business
These resources cover multiple small business assistance options to help you determine which is relevant to your business and how to navigate the application process. You should only apply to programs you qualify for, but there is no penalty for applying to multiple assistance programs, as long as funds are used for different purposes.
We recommend referencing the table below.
May apply for PPP or SVOG
Cannot apply for current PPP and SVOG
May apply for SVOG if received a PPP loan in 2020
May apply for EIDL
Not eligible to apply for PPP loan
May apply for EIDL
Maximum loan or grant amount
$10 million – First Round
$2 million – Second Round
Lesser of 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million
Possibly, depending on loan amount
Credit check required?
Automatic payment deferral
Until forgiveness application is processed, 10 months after end of covered period otherwise
3.75%, up to 30 years
(2.75% for non-profits)
1%, 2 years; 5 years for new loans
Approved uses of loan funds
Fixed debts (rent, utilities, etc.), Payroll, Accounts payable, Some bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred
Payroll expenses, Rent, Mortgage interest, Utilities
Operating expenses including: Payroll costs, Rent payments, Utility payments, Scheduled mortgage payments, Scheduled debt payments on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to 02-15-20), Worker protection expenditures, Payments to independent contractors
Are You a Small Business?
First, determine if your business size meets the eligibility standards set by the SBA. All businesses with fewer than 500 employees qualify. If you have greater than 500 employees, please use the Business Size Calculator to determine if you are eligible. Some of the new legislations is targeted to businesses under 300.
SBA Business Size Calculator
Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)
This program provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Applications are now open. See How to apply for more detail.
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
For assistance preparing your application, you can access the following:
- Call center support: 844-279-8898
You can also watch a previously recorded webinar training to help you prepare:
For assistance with your submitted application:
- Submit a message using the application platform inbox (preferred)
- Call center support: 844-279-8898
Who can apply
- Food stands, food trucks, food carts
- Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
- Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
- Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
- Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products
How to apply
You can apply through SBA-recognized Point of Sale (POS) vendors or directly via SBA in a forthcoming online application portal: https://restaurants.sba.gov. Participating POS providers include Square, Toast, Clover, NCR Corporation (Aloha), and Oracle. If you are working with Square or Toast, you do not need to register beforehand on the https://restaurants.sba.gov application portal.
For detailed information about how to calculate your award amount, please consult page 7-9 of the RRF program guide.
Calculation 1: for applicants in operation prior to or on January 1, 2019:
- 2019 gross receipts minus 2020 gross receipts minus PPP loan amounts
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
SBA is currently offering PPP loans originated only by participating community financial institutions including Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA Microlenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) until May 31, 2021 or until remaining funds are exhausted. Please note that not all community financial institutions are participating in PPP.
Are you eligible to apply for a PPP loan but haven’t yet? There are still locations in Montana that can process them. Contact Embark Credit Union of Great Falls by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and put attention to Erin Townsend or you can apply online with MoFi. If you have questions about eligibility, contact Nathan Reiff at 406-403-4937 or NReiff@GrowGreatFalls.org. Final deadline is May 31st so act now!
Covers the compensation of your employee payroll, insurance, utilities and other operational expenses. Payroll can include owner withdrawals for certain types of businesses.
The new bill authorizes a second round of PPP payments as well as first round payments to businesses who did not do PPP last year.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. The PPP is a forgivable loan available for small businesses, 501(c)3, 501(c)19, and tribal businesses that meet the SBA small business designation, along with sole proprietors and independent contractors. Companies must have been operational by 02/15/2020. Other restrictions apply.
Eligibility Criteria First Round
- Borrowers do not need to demonstrate economic hardship but rather certify in good faith that their business has been affected by the current economic crisis. The organization must have been operational by 02/15/2020 to qualify.
- Borrowers apply through banks certified in SBA 7(a) lending. Applicants must submit a Paycheck Protection Program Application form and recent tax documents.
Eligibility Criteria Second Round
- Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses.
- Has no more than 300 employees; and
- Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020
- Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Borrower Application Form (released 01-08-21)
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
Covers a wide range of business expenses for funds lost.
Also known as the “SBA Disaster Loan,” the EIDL is an extension of the existing disaster loan program. Businesses may apply for both EIDL and PPP, although funds cannot be used for the same purpose.
- 3.75% interest rate (fixed)
- 30 years
- No Prepayment Deferred one year; interest still accrues
Resources for Navigating the Process
Choose from a step-by-step written guide or contact resources at our local Montana, SBA District Office for help with the application process. Montana’s local SBA office can be reached at (406) 441-1081, although due to high call volumes, we recommend exhausting online resources prior to calling.
Contact the SBA
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
Not Yet Accepting Applications
The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million.
- For an eligible entity in operation on January 1, 2019, grants will be for an amount equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue OR $10 million, whichever is less.
- For an eligible entity that began operation after January 1, 2019, grants will be for the average monthly gross revenue for each full month you were in operation during 2019 multiplied by six (6) OR $10 million, whichever is less.
Eligible entities include:
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
- Motion picture theater operators
- Talent representatives, and
- Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
Other requirements of note:
- Must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020
- Venue or promoter must not have received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020
Allowable use of funds
- Payroll costs
- Rent payments
- Utility payments
- Scheduled mortgage payments (not including prepayment of principal)
- Scheduled debt payments (not including prepayment of principal) on any indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business prior to 02-15-20)
- Worker protection expenditures
- Payments to independent contractors (not to exceed $100K in annual compensation per contractor)
- Other ordinary and necessary business expenses, including maintenance costs
- Administrative costs (incl. fees and licensing)
- State and local taxes and fees
- Operating leases in effect as of 02-15-20
- Insurance payments
- Advertising, production transportation, and capital expenditures related to producing a theatrical or live performing arts production. (May not be primary use of funds.)
Resources for Navigating the Process
Small Business Debt Relief Program
For existing borrowers of 7(a), 504, and Microloans
Borrowers need not apply for assistance
For borrowers whose loans were approved prior to 12/27/2020, SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all 7(a), 504, and Microloans reported in regular servicing status (excluding PPP loans).
Additional Debt Relief Assistance
- The Economic Aid Act also authorized additional debt relief payments to 7(a), 504, and Microloan borrowers beyond the 6-month period prescribed in the CARES Act. The level of assistance varies based on when the loan was approved and will begin on or after February 1, 2021.
- Please contact your Lender for questions on the availability of this assistance for your SBA loan.
Employee Retention Tax Credit
The CARES Act provides a refundable tax credit for qualified wages up to $10,000 paid per calendar quarter to employees.
- From Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, the refundable tax credit is capped at $7,000 per employee per calendar quarter, for 70% of qualified wages up to $10,000.
- From March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020, the refundable tax credit is capped at $5,000 per employee, for 50% of qualified wages up to $10,000.
Example: Employer pays $10,000 in qualified wages to Employee in each of Q2 2020, Q3 2020, Q4 2020, Q1 2021 and Q2 2021
For March 13, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, Employers who:
- Were partially or fully suspended due to COVID-19 orders from an appropriate governmental authority, or
- Experienced a significant decline in gross receipts. A significant decline in gross receipts means the period beginning with the first calendar quarter in 2020 where gross receipts are less than 50% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter of 2019, and ending with the calendar quarter following the first calendar quarter where quarterly gross receipts are greater than 80% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year.
For Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021:
- For the 2021 ERTC, a significant decline in gross receipts means the period beginning with the first calendar quarter in 2021 where gross receipts are less than 80% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter of 2019, and ending with the calendar quarter following the first calendar quarter where quarterly gross receipts are greater than 80% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in 2019.
- Eligibility generally follows the same rules as for the 2020 ERTC, but an exception to the general prohibition on government and state employers is provided for tax-exempt public colleges, universities and hospitals.
Where to Apply
Refer to your financial team on changes in the payroll process. All penalties for social security tax non-payment when filing weekly or biweekly payments will be waived. Visit the U.S. Treasury statement for more information on tax deferment. See tax relief program details on the IRS website.
Resources for Navigating the Process
Find resources on the IRS and U.S. Treasury websites.