Small businesses impacted by pandemic can now apply for low-interest loans

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SAN DIEGO — Small businesses with 500 employees or fewer are now able to apply for partially forgivable, low-interest rate loans. These are loans that could potentially prevent businesses from closing shop.

Seasalt Del Mar is one local restaurant that will be applying for a loan. It has been in business for the past five years and is now looking for new ways to stay alive during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jay Kopelowitz, one of Seasalt’s co-owners, says his team has been operating solely as a take-out restaurant for the past several weeks. This is something Seasalt has never done before, but its owners quickly realized they needed to do something in order to prevent them from going out of business. “We’re doing everything we can to comply, but stay alive,” Kopelowitz said of the state and local social distancing guidelines.

Kopelowitz said he laid off most of his staff and now has only a couple of chefs working in the kitchen to fill orders. “We know it’s going to be really tough on them, so we hope that we will be back open as soon as we get some loan money so that we can hire them back right away, get back in business and be able to take care of our business,” Kopelowitz said.

The loan he’s specifically talking about is being offered through the Paycheck Protection Program. It’s part of the recently passed stimulus package, which is giving $350 billion to businesses. In order to quality, companies must have 500 employees or fewer and maintain the same number of workers. The money will go toward things like payroll, retirement benefits, rent and utilities.

“We’re going to be able to get a loan based on our payroll times 2.5, and 75% of that money will be used for payroll to bring back our people,” Kopelowitz told FOX 5.

“You can actually go in and talk to the lender that you have a relationship with now, and they can give out a fully guaranteed loan,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “You can do that fairly easily.”

Until things get back to normal, the general manager of Seasalt Del Mar said he’s hoping people use this time as a chance to hit the reset button.

Small businesses that may qualify for the loan have until June 30 to submit an application. City officials are encouraging business owners to apply as early as possible, as there is a funding cap for the program.

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