By Lillian Boyd

Rep. Mike Levin, whose district includes Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, joined Mike Daniel and Mike Hill from the Orange County Office of Small Business Development Centers to further educate small businesses on resources for economic relief.

In a Zoom “town hall” conference on Tuesday, April 28, Levin stressed the importance of government and businesses working together to weather the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent impacts that reacting policies have had on the economy.

“In an area where tourism is so critically important, anything we can do from a revenue recovering perspective is crucial,” Levin said. “Obviously, there’s a massive number of people eager to get back to work, and staying at home is not easy. I’m very cognizant of that. We have to get back to work, but we have to do so in a way that is safe.”

Daniel highlighted two loans made available by the federal government: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The EIDL has been available for several decades and has traditionally served recipients in times of a disaster impacting a select area and is a 3.75%, 30-year, fixed-rate loan.

“We are seeing a record number of people applying for this loan,” Daniel said. “California was the first to declare itself as a disaster state. Most disasters are concentrated to one area, but coronavirus is all over the world.”

Small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories were able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue and does not have to be repaid.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis for agricultural businesses only.

PPP goes through lenders, which is where the bulk of federal funding went. It covers eight weeks of payroll, and if recipients use 75% of it to preserve staff, it is forgiven.

“The SBDC is here to figure out what kind of loans are best for you,” Daniel said. “Maybe it’s both. We can walk you through your options.”

“Legislation that impacts business is changing every day,” said Vickie McMurchie the executive director for the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce. “I strongly suggest businesses reach out to your local SBA or SBDC offices for guidance and for the most up-to-date information on loans and financial assistance.”

The Chamber’s resource page includes tools for small businesses, a list of financial relief and assistance programs, legislative updates, community resources, health and advisory updates and more. Those resources can be viewed here.

Rep. Levin has also put together a COVID-19 Federal Resource Guide.

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