Tampa Bay COVID-19 Attorney
Has Your Business Been Affected by COVID-19?
The Tampa Bay area has certainly been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially at risk have been restaurants, hotels sports bars, nail and beauty salons, entertainment centers and their employees. If your business has been affected by the government shutdowns, it is important to learn your legal options now.
Now more than ever, business owners need answers, not legal theories or “what ifs” from an attorney. Swift legal analysis of options coupled with a timely implementation of strategy can mean the difference between a company’s survival or death.
On March 25, 2020 the government passed a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package which slates $367 billion to help small businesses across the country. Here are some highlights of this package and how it affects us:
- Many Americans received a check or direct deposit in an amount up to $1,200, plus an additional $500 for each child dependent
- Federal student loan payments were completely deferred with no interest until September 30, 2020
- Aid was being provided to small businesses so that they could continue to pay their employees who were on leave. There is a payroll forgiveness provision in the new SBA program which will provide eligible businesses to have some or all of the loan forgiven. Ask your banker about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Applications began on April 3, 2020 and you can receive up to 250% of your payroll costs for an eight week period.
- The Small Business Administration also provided a Disaster Relief payment of up to $10,000 for qualified small businesses. If you received the PPP grant and the Disaster Relief loan, a portion may not be forgiven.
- The City of Tampa processed applications for small businesses directly affected by the virus shutdown, particularly restaurants, nail salons and similar businesses.
There is also new Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program for businesses affected by the crisis. Florida businesses with two to 100 employees can apply for up to $50,000 which is interest free for the first year. The application period ran through May 8, 2020. Warning…after the loan balloons in a year, the interest rate is 12%. It also might be collateralized by your home and the application is based upon credit worthiness. If you have a Hurricane bridge loan already, it must be paid off before you can apply for a new bridge loan.
A “second draw” PPP loan was rolled out in December of 2020. Applications for the second funding are tied to the applications for the first draw forgiveness. The SBA is still working through these procedures.
In addition, the Small Business Administration is offering emergency relief in the form of working capital loans up to $2,000,000 for credit worthy businesses who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus. These loans can be applied for directly on www.sba.org. The loans can be amortized for up to 30 years and the interest rate is 3.75%. Collateral might not be required, but if it is available it would be a secured loan. Be prepared to provide financials for the last three years.
We urge caution to all business owners who might already be struggling financially to avoid taking on additional debt which may not be forgiven. To learn your other options, call us at 813-221-3759 or contact us directly. Pledging your home as collateral for a new loan could be a recipe for serious disaster. You should also avoid using your retirement funds to support a failing business.
On May 14, 2020, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that borrowers in forbearance can defer the missed mortgage payments to the end of their loan. The COVID-19 deferral will allow financially strapped people to avoid having to make a lump sum payment.
Individual and businesses who have been, or expect to be, economically affected by the 2020 Coronavirus will be required to submit substantial records documenting economic loss in order to qualify for the second draw of the PPP loan. This will include a “benchmark period” when your business was doing well (get those records up to date) and a recent period showing your decline in business due to the economic situation that resulted from the 2020 Corona Virus or COVID-19.