Great Harvest 18

Small businesses shown along Historic 25th Street in early March 2020.

OGDEN — The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused much uncertainty, especially for some small businesses.

But local and state officials say aid is available.

On Tuesday, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced that businesses in all 29 Utah counties can immediately apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We recognize this loan program will not solve all of today’s economic challenges, but it will serve as a useful tool for businesses affected by COVID-19,” Ryan Starks, managing director of business services at GOED said in a press release. “Small business owners are the backbone of Utah’s economy, and these available loans demonstrate how vital they are.”

For small businesses, the loans will carry a 3.75% interest rate, according to GOED. Nonprofits will be eligible for loans at 2.75% interest. Individual small businesses and nonprofits can receive up to $2 million, to be repaid over 30 years.

Applications can be submitted at www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.

Gov. Gary Herbert has assembled a Coronavirus Economic Response Task Force, which includes members of the Governor’s Economic Council and industry representatives, to discuss additional strategies to support local businesses. Updates from the task force are available at coronavirus.utah.gov. And for a comprehensive listing of business resources go to coronavirus.utah.gov/business/.

“During difficult times, Utahns do what we do best — support each other,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “Our business owners will adapt, improvise and overcome COVID-19’s economic challenges.”

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said small businesses in Ogden are already taking a hit, particularly restaurants. On Tuesday, Herbert issued an order to all restaurants, bars and food service establishments to suspend dine-in operations for at least two weeks.

“This is an unprecedented time for all of us,” Caldwell said. “We hope this is short-lived, and we hope (restaurants) get back to regular business as quickly and safely as possible. We want them all to come back open. These kinds of events, when they open those restaurants and bars back up and it’s safe to go, they see a big spike in business. We just want them to be able to keep in business so once this is over, everybody can start going back.”

Ogden City has published a business impact survey to help officials there understand and better respond to the impact of COVID-19. The survey can be found on Ogden City’s website, under the coronavirus update tab. Small businesses impacted by the virus may also qualify for business loans through the city’s Business Information Center. The city is preparing a request for additional funding for its business loan program and will work to provide flexible loan terms and an expedited process.

For more information, contact Ogden’s BIC at 801-629-8613.

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