Small business resources during COVID-19

Many resources are now available to small business looking for financial aid during the pandemic. Here is some information you might find useful. If you have questions or suggestion please email us at [email protected]

What is an essential business? 

  • On March 23, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order prohibiting the closure of businesses providing essential services. You can find the executive order that breaks down what those services are, here. Right now there is no certification process to have your business included on the list of essential services.

What is the CARES Act?

  • The CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act  is a $2 trillion federal stimulus package for American workers and businesses. In this package there is $349 billion set aside for small businesses. Under this program approved lenders, like Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders, can provide 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small businesses that continue to pay employees. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates $5.6 billion will be available for Arizona’s small businesses.
  • The U.S. Chamber created a guide with everything you need to know about how to apply for relief funding under the CARES Act. The guide notes eligibility, requirements and application guidelines. This is a resource for small businesses with less than 500 employees, 1099 workers, one-person businesses, self-employed workers, independent contractors or a small 501(c)3.

Relief in Arizona 

  • The Arizona Legislature approved a $50M coronavirus relief package to fund response programs that include business support and relief for nonprofits. The AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of the Arizona Together initiative, supports Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak, connecting individuals and businesses to resources. 
  • A list of all the specific executive actions taken by Governor Ducey can be found here.

How to get loans 

  • Through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans with long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon a borrowing business’ ability to repay. Small businesses throughout the entire state that fit this criteria are eligible. Arizona businesses impacted by COVID-19 may apply for the loan here
  • The Arizona Commerce Authority’s COVID-19 Business Resources Guide is another good site for information on funding opportunities, workforce navigation services, manufacturing supports and ways communities are pitching in during the pandemic. 
  • The SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to receive up to $25,000 quickly. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Download the guide to apply here
  • On March 19, the SBA approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Arizona to help small businesses. As on April 15, the SBA announced there is a lapse in appropriations in the program, meaning there is no funding left to distribute, and new applications are not being accepted. 

What do I do about …

Payroll taxes 

  • In part of the CARES Act, Employers can delay the payment of employer payroll taxes between now and Jan. 1, 2021. Half of the taxes will be due Dec. 31, 2021 and the other half will be due Dec. 31, 2022. This excludes employers who have loans forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Plan, which is also undergoing a lapse of appropriations. 
  • The CARES Act expands the ability to use losses by suspending the 80 percent income limitation for tax years before 2021, and by permitting net operating losses (NOLs) arising in 2018, 2019 and 2020 to be carried back five years. Business owners may elect to increase the limit on interest deductibility to 50 percent for 2019 and 2020.

    The CARES Act also created the Paycheck Protection Program and extended the SBA’s Economic Disaster Injury Loan program through the end of the calendar year. 

Laying off employees 

  • The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a law that requires employers to provide advance notice and planning mechanisms to their employees in the event of a mass layoff. The United States Department of Labor has set guidelines for employers to properly follow WARN requirements.


  • The Department of Economic Security lists eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance benefits here
  • A new temporary federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits to people who aren’t otherwise eligible for Unemployment Insurance. PUA provides benefits to covered individuals. Covered individuals are not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or Federal law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).  
    This includes people who:
    • are self-employed,
    • are seeking part-time employment,
    • have exhausted all rights to such benefits,
    • lack sufficient work history, or
    • otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits under state or Federal law or PEUC.

Nonprofit/Government Entity support 

  • The Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona is providing emergency funding for non-profit (501c3)/Government entities and community partners impacted by COVID-19. More information can be found here or through contacting [email protected] or (520) 335-6015. To-date the foundation has granted emergency funding to community centers, shelters, relief organizations, and other nonprofits in Cochise County.