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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Starting Wednesday evening, small Sacramento-area businesses struggling amid the spread of COVID-19 can apply for no-interest loans.

The loans were made possible after the City Council approved a $1 million emergency relief fund in a meeting Friday.

Loans of up to $25,000 will be prioritized for restaurants, retail businesses with storefronts and daycare providers with no more than 25 full-time employees, according to city officials.

“Loan funds would be pretty unrestricted with respect to use of covering everyday expenses, operating expenses, everyday operating expenses such as payroll,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Jasso at Friday’s meeting.

Business owners can begin the application process at 5 p.m. and will be awarded loans on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The fund has set aside $250,000 for local businesses with five employees or fewer.

“We are working furiously with our labor, state and federal partners to mitigate the financial cost to our small businesses and to workers in the City of Sacramento. I’m confident the calvary will come from many directions,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in Wednesday’s release.  

Steinberg is also behind a GoFundMe page established by local restaurants and bars that are looking to raise $1 million for coronavirus relief.

Loan payments are expected to begin 90 days after the emergency declaration is terminated, according to city officials.

The city has provided the following guidelines for business owners looking to apply:

  • Be for-profit, independently owned local businesses (nonprofit organizations may apply for funding, but priority will be given to for-profit businesses)
  • Have no more than 25 full-time employees
  • Be a restaurant, retail, service, or entertainment business with a storefront, or a day care establishment
  • Have a physical establishment within the city of Sacramento (no home-based businesses with the exception of child-care businesses)
  • Have a demonstrated hardship due to COVID-19, such as a loss in revenue
  • Have written sick leave policies to assist workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Comply with the spirit of the City’s non-discriminatory policy 
  • Not include a business owner that has previously applied for a zero-interest loan under this program
  • Be in good standing with the City of Sacramento (e.g., current on bills, no liens or judgments, etc.)
  • Have a current City of Sacramento Business Operations Tax Certificate (BOTC) and have been in operation as of March 13, 2020

Businesses that would like to apply can click or tap here. A hotline for those with questions can be reached at 916-808-7196.