Business/Economy

Small Alaska businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis can apply for federal disaster loans

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With Alaska businesses shutting doors and shedding workers amid the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Small Business Administration is providing low-interest federal disaster loans to help keep them afloat.

The federal agency is offering small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations up to $2 million in emergency aid to help with lost revenue, according to a statement from the agency on Saturday.

"These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact,” said Jovita Carranza, the agency’s administrator.

The interest rate depends on the applicant: It is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations.

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The federal agency acted under its own authority to declare a disaster, after a March 17 request from Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the statement said.

Economists say thousands of Alaskans were suddenly thrown out of work last week and the number of Alaskans seeking unemployment insurance soared.

The loans stem from an emergency aid package approved by Congress in early March to fight the fallout from the pandemic.

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Congress approved a second package last week and is working on a third one this week.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young said in a statement they are hearing from Alaska businesses who have made large layoffs amid local and state orders that have shut down many small businesses to prevent the virus from spreading.

The deadline to apply is Dec. 21, 2020. Businesses can find more information online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

Applicants can also call the the Small Business Administration at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Completed applications should be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

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