ATLANTIC — Help is out there. Only a few days in to changes due to the emergency mandates, Bailey Smith of the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce said it was too early to tell what kind of a hit area businesses were taking. “We just don’t know yet,” she said, “But Atlantic is still open for business.”

Jennifer McEntaffer, Cass/Atlantic Development Corporation (CADCO) director, said said the state of Iowa has programs in place to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Small businesses economically affected by the coronavirus pandemic may be able to find help — and resources — to help them apply for programs like the Iowa Small Business Relief Fund and Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund on the Iowa Economic Development website.

Governor Kim Reynolds announced the new Iowa Small Business Relief Program on March 23, a program intended to provide assistance to small businesses and tax deferrals for Iowa businesses that were economically affected by the pandemic.

That program offers grants from $5,000 to $25,000 in addition to offering deferrals of sales and use or withholding taxes that are due, and waivers of penalties and interest to eligible businesses.

The funds can be used to assist eligible businesses in maintaining operations, or reopening after the pandemic, but may not be used to pay debts incurred before March 17.

Eligibility requirements include having a physical location in the state of Iowa, employing 2-25 people prior to March 17 and experiencing business disruption due to the pandemic.

The deadline for this program is Tuesday, March 31 at noon, and is not first-come first-served, each completed application will be reviewed.

The Targeted Small Business Operator Fund was created to support small businesses with no employees that have been impacted by the pandemic. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 for businesses that are sole proprietors or single-member LLCs.

This program will continue to accept applications on an on-going basis until funds are exhausted. Businesses must be TSB certified, and must be located in the state of Iowa, operating for profit, making less than $4 million in gross income and majority (51 percent or more) operated and managed by a female, individual with minority status, service disabled veteran or individual with a disability. Funds may not be used to pay debts incurred before March 17

A third program, offering low-interest support loans to affected businesses is also currently in place. The SBA issued a disaster declaration as of March 21, allowing businesses that are economically impacted by the pandemic to apply. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent.

The loans are also available to private, non-profit organizations, to help with economic injuries caused by the coronavirus. The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. More information can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

Governor Reynolds issued a disaster declaration for the state as of Jan. 31, allowing small businesses to apply for low-interest loans that can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that they can’t pay because of the impact of the pandemic.

“This SBA Disaster Loan program is vital in assisting our small businesses that have been so heavily impacted by these unprecedented times,” said Gov. Reynolds, adding “I will continue to work with President Trump and his administration to provide relief to Iowa small businesses as we combat the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa.”

McEntaffer said small business owners could find more information on the loans and how to apply at the Cass/Atlantic Development Corp. Facebook page. Also there is more information on the U.S. Small Business Administration along with how to find a local SBA office at