The two stimulus bills passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), passed late last week, have provisions that can help retailers and other small geek culture businesses stay afloat through the coming months. The best summary we’ve seen of all the programs for small business from both bills is on this page from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce site, and the linked pages from it. Here are some of the key elements:
The Paycheck Protection Program provides for Small Business Administration loans through banks, without a personal guarantee or collateral, for small businesses to fund key expenses. The portions of the loans that are used for payroll, mortgage, rent, and utilities in the eight weeks following origination of the loan will be forgiven.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available not only to small businesses, but to individuals operating as independent contractors, and can be approved based solely on credit score. Loans under $200,000 do not require a personal guarantee. Emergency grants of $10,000 can be forgiven if spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs due to supply chain disruption, mortgage or lease payments or repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.
Some businesses may be eligible for both the Paycheck Protection Program and the EIDLs.
The CARES act provides for tax credits of up to 50% of wages up to $10,000 paid to employees between March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020, for businesses that lose revenues, suspend operations, or have higher costs due to coronavirus.
Businesses can defer paying payroll tax obligations and instead pay them over the next two years (does not apply to wages supported by a Paycheck Protection loan forgiveness).
Businesses are required to provide paid sick and family leave for coronavirus-related absences, but can receive reimbursement for expenses beyond those normally offered via tax credits or direct government payments.
This is only a partial list; check out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce page linked above, or for another list of government small business programs and helpful hints, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund page linked here.