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Coronavirus in Texas

Small businesses in Texas can apply for emergency federal loans to help ride out coronavirus pandemic, Abbott announces

Texans can apply online to see if they qualify for a long-term, low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Shuttered businesses on  Sixth Street in Austin during the COVID-19 pandemic on March 19, 2020.

Coronavirus in Texas

As the coronavirus spreads across the state, The Texas Tribune is covering the most important health, economic and breaking developments that affect Texans, every day. Watch our Texas unemployment tracker, use our explainer on the coronavirus for essential information, and visit our map tracker for the number of cases, deaths and tests in Texas.

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Small businesses battered by the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeping through Texas can apply for long-term, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan is available for small businesses to apply. Questions of eligibility, and how to apply, can be answered on the agency website.

Businesses are seeking relief from the government following economic devastation brought on by the new coronavirus, which has led to major event cancelations, school district shutdowns, and closures of in-person bar and restaurant services. Business owners have not been thrilled with the government’s response.

At the beginning of the week, when business started slowing and some Texas cities required certain sectors to close or limit operations, Kevin Richie, who owns a light and installation company in Austin, was looking for government support.

“The president keeps talking about these SBA funds, but I’ve checked their site and it looks like there’s a slew of states that have applied. And Texas hasn’t,” Richie said Monday. “But even then, whenever Texas does appear eligible, it’s a loan that you need to qualify for.”

Richie and other small-business owners said they need the money quickly. Bob Stein, a professor at Rice University, said the SBA has typically administered funds swiftly.

“Of the 2,500 federal aid programs,” Stein said, “I can’t think of a single federal aid program that can inject money into the system as quickly you can with the SBA.”

Abbott and the SBA have not provided a timeline for the loan program.

Disclosure: Rice University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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