Pulling together when faced with challenges is nothing new to Louisianans. We know it is imperative that we share knowledge and resources to help everyone get through these uncertain times. It is why we created this hub of resources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page includes information regarding emergency loan programs and other resources for businesses.
We’ve weathered many storms, and together, we’ll weather this one too.
Safely Reopening the Economy
Gov. Edwards issued a Stay at Home Order on March 22, 2020, moved to Phase One on May 14, 2020, then Phase 2 on June 4, 2020. To learn more about the current order and state guidelines click here. Residents and businesses and can find more information on the following pages:
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office manages a program to help businesses and religious organizations safely reopen.. The initiative allows businesses and churches to register and receive up-to-date information on reopening phases and the guidelines associated with each phase. To register, visit OpenSafely.la.gov.
Business Loan and Grant Programs
Paycheck Protection Program
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020, brought back the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program offered through local lenders designed to encourage business owners to retain or rehire employees by offering partially forgivable loans for expenses related to payroll, rent, mortgage interests, utilities, perishable goods, safety equipment and more. The revised PPP program will be available to first and second-time applicants. First-time applications are open to most businesses and non-profits with 500 of fewer employees with a loan calculation of 2.5x the average monthly payroll costs in the previous year. Second-time applications are open to most businesses and non-profits with 300 or fewer employees and 25% revenue loss in gross receipts from same quarters in 2019 and 2020. The loan calculation remains the same, except for restaurants and hotels who may receive loans up to 3.5x average monthly payroll costs. Loans are available until March 31, 2021. Additional details on the revised program are available via the SBA’s website.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan offers a low interest loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration for businesses suffering from a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. The loan may be used for any business-related expense such as payroll, debts, equipment, and materials. The new Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020, provides $20 billion in funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance, a grant program that previously had its funding exhausted. The IEDL Advance grant provides small businesses grants of $1,000 per employee, up to $10,000. To apply, contact the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Shuttered Venue Operations Grant (SVO), signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, offers grants equal to 45% of 2019 gross earned revenue or $10 million (whichever is less) for live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations, museums, zoos, aquariums, movie theatres and others that meet eligibility requirements. To be eligible, the venue must have been in operation as of Feb. 29, 2020 and not have received a PPP loan on or after Dec. 27, 2020. Funds may be used for a variety of expenses including payroll, rent, utility payments, mortgage payments, insurance payments, and more. For more information on the program and how to apply, visit this U.S. Small Business Administration page.
The SBA Express Bridge Loan, offered through local lending institutions, can help small businesses access up to $25,000 to help overcome temporary loss of revenue. If a business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for approval or disbursement of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), the SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan can be used now and repaid by proceeds from the EIDL. To learn more about the program, visit this U.S. Small Business Administration page.
The Employee Retention Tax Credit offers a 70% tax credit for the first $10,000 of compensation, including health care benefits, for each employee of a business for any quarter in 2021. To qualify, business operations must have been interrupted due to government regulations or have less than 50% of gross receipts compared to the previous year. If you are participating in the Payroll Protection Program, you are now eligible according to the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The credit has also been extended through July 1, 2021. For complete details on this IRS tax credit, visit this IRS page.
The Main Street Lending Program created by the U.S. Federal Reserve offers 5-year loans to companies employing up to 15,000 or with revenues less than $5 billion. Loans range from $100,000 to $300 million. The program also offers 5-year loans to nonprofit organizations employing 10 or more. Loans range from $100,000 to $10 million. To apply, borrowers should contact their bank or eligible lending institutions. Additional information on how to apply, deadlines, eligible lending institutions, and the approval process are available by visiting the Main Street Lending program page.
The Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program offers loans up to $100,000 through local lenders to Louisiana businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The program is designed to help businesses meet payroll, retain employees, pay rent and mortgages, and sustain operations. Details, including a list of participating banks offering loans, can be found by visiting this Louisiana Economic Development page.
Additional national and local resources include:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- National Institutes of Health
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Save Small Business Fund
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- U.S. Small Business Administration find eligible lenders search tool
- U.S. Department of the Treasury The CARES Act Recent Remarks and Statements List
- IRS Frequently Asked Questions on Payroll Tax Deferment Under CARES Act
- Internal Revenue Service Payroll Tax Deferment FAQ
- Society for Human Resource Management
- Rural Business Development Grants
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- Office of the Governor and the COVID-19 Help Desk
- Louisiana Economic Development
- Louisiana Workforce Commission
- Louisiana Small Business Development Center
- Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
- Louisiana Department of Education Child Care Assistance Program
- Louisiana Major Disaster Declaration
- Louisiana Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19
- Louisiana Governor’s Essential Infrastructure Fact Sheet
Employers and employees may also be interested to know that the U.S. Department of Labor provided additional guidance regarding paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Act.
And as it relates to filing income taxes, the IRS has provided direction for Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments here.
Although there is a lot of helpful information and resources available, remain aware and do not fall victim to scams. In this graphic, the U.S. Office of Inspector General provides several tips on avoiding grant fraud, loan fraud or phishing.
If you are applying for financial assistance, you may be asked to provide a copy of your most recent utility bill. You can obtain a copy of your recent bill by logging into myEntergy. If you do not have an account, click here to register (Entergy account number needed). If you have trouble registering, need your account number or need additional assistance, call 1-800-ENTERGY and an agent will help assist you with the registration process or obtain a mailed copy of your bill.
Additional Resources from our Economic Development Partners
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) created a specific COVID-19 page on their website to provide valuable resources for impacted businesses across the state. LED also partnered with e-commerce platforms to launch LASmallBizOnline.com, a website that provides Louisiana small business owners with enhanced customer service and other resources to assist in setting up e-commerce capabilities.
Gov. John Bel Edwards created the Resilient Louisiana Commission, a group tasked with examining the state’s economy amid the pandemic and making recommendations for more resilient business-related activities and future commerce in light of COVID-19.
As they always do, our regional economic development allies have risen to the challenge and have gotten creative to reach small businesses in need. For example, several have either hosted or scheduled webinars that include accountants and tax experts sharing tips and tools on navigating through the pandemic, creating programs, resources and COVID-19 pages for business on their website.
Click on your region in the map or list below to learn more about the resources in your specific area:
Map provided courtesy of Louisiana Economic Development.
- Acadiana Region – One Acadiana
- Bayou Region – South Louisiana Economic Council
- Capital Region – Baton Rouge Area Chamber
- Central Region – Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
- Northeast Region – Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance
- Northwest Region – North Louisiana Economic Partnership
- Southeast Region – Greater New Orleans, Inc.
- Southwest Region – Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
The following are additional resources from other statewide partners providing resources for small businesses during the pandemic:
The Greater New Orleans Foundation has launched a resource page listing available grants for non-profits, long-term support efforts, and a variety of other tools for nonprofits and those most vulnerable in the community to COVID-19.
The Lake Charles Small Business Stabilization Fund was announced and designed to assist local, small businesses negatively affected by the pandemic.
In north Louisiana, the City of Monroe COVID-19 Small Business Enterprise Loan/Grant Program was launched to stimulate economic growth and help businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Entergy Louisiana hosted a webinar where community leaders and experts offered insight and information to small businesses navigating newly created assistance programs.
The webinar was moderated by Jody Montelaro, Entergy Louisiana vice president of public affairs, and featured U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President and CEO Stephen Waguespack, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and Louisiana Bankers Association Chairman Gary Littlefield. View the webinar below.