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Oregon joined surrounding states Friday in receiving an economic disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration that makes small business owners in the state eligible for low-interest loans to help with the financial hit due to measures taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

According to the SBA’s website, “These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.”

Businesses across the area are adjusting to this week’s mandate that limits operations to what Brown called in a Friday night press conference “their version of take-out.” If they cannot do that, Brown said the businesses should close.

Parts of Oregon were included in other state’s declarations, including California’s economic disaster which included Klamath and Lake counties.

Counties in California, Washington, Idaho and Nevada are also a part of Oregon’s declaration, including Modoc and Siskiyou Counties.

Governor Kate Brown requested the aid from the SBA, which was supported by Representatives and Senators across the state, including Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Congressman Greg Walden.

In their letter to the SBA Director, the legislators wrote, “In this unprecedented time, swift and decisive action by the SBA will help provide small businesses with access to capital in a timely manner. We cannot stress enough that the timeliness of this declaration is critical to help Oregon small businesses survive in this extraordinary environment.”

Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot applauded the effort to get relief for basin businesses.

“Obtaining this Designation for the State of Oregon was a critical step for the survival of our small business owners. Being a former small business owner myself, I understand what even a short disruption in the ability to operate can do to the cash flow and financial stability of your business. This designation will allow small businesses the support they need to continue to operate,” he said. “I would like to thank Congressman Walden, his staff and our other federal partners for their help in achieving this critical milestone.”

Non-profits are also eligible for these loans at an interest rate of 2.75%. The interest rate for small businesses is 3.75%.

According to the SBA’s website, “Substantial economic injury means the business is unable to meet its obligations and to pay its ordinary and necessary operating expenses. EIDLs provide the necessary working capital to help small businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.”

Businesses in the area may face even more hardships or be required to close with a new order expected from Gov. Brown on Monday after she announced at her Friday press conference stricter policy relating to people staying home and only going out when they absolutely need to.

The last day for businesses to apply for these loans is Dec. 21, 2020. Businesses can apply online at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.