Small businesses in Colorado now have access to federal emergency funds to help ease the financial strain from the coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Jared Polis said Thursday that the state's application was accepted by the Small Business Administration for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which allows small businesses in the state to apply for low interest loans of up to $2 million.
"The economic impact of COVID-19 has been felt across our state. We are committed to protecting public health and safety and will continue fighting to ensure the pain that Colorado's small businesses are feeling is limited," Polis said in a statement. "This critical designation allows small businesses in all 64 Colorado counties to seek federal recovery loans that can help them through this challenging time. I thank the Colorado federal delegation for their efforts to help unlock this assistance."
The state's economy, which was strong closing out 2019 and into 2020, has been jolted by the coronavirus outbreak, which is projected to pose significant funding issues for state government.
Dine-in service at restaurants and bars has been shut down, but businesses can still offer take-out and delivery services. Ski areas in the state have also been closed following orders from Gov. Polis.
Unemployment claims in the state have spiked in recent weeks, from 400 prior to the outbreak to over 6,800 this week, the Colorado Department of Labor and Unemployment said Tuesday.
"Local small businesses are bearing the brunt of that impact and facing a severe decline in customer traffic," SBA Regional Administrator Dan Nordberg said. "SBA's top priority is to assist businesses adversely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our Economic Injury Disaster Loans can be the working capital lifelines they need to weather this difficult time."
Colorado has 277 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Thursday.