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Small Businesses and COVID-19: Relief and
Assistance Resources
April 1, 2020
This CRS Insight presents selected websites and CRS products potentially relevant to small businesses
that are directly affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and seeking economic
relief and assistance.
For an analysis of the small business provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
(CARES) Act, enacted on March 27, 2020, see CRS Report R46284, COVID-19 Stimulus Assistance to
Small Businesses: Issues and Policy Options, by Robert Jay Dilger, Bruce R. Lindsay, and Sean Lowry.
For a list of all CRS products related to COVID-19, see the CRS COVID-19 Resources page.

Selected Resources
Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” resource page provides
information on new assistance programs established by the CARES Act. Businesses may contact local
SBA district offices with questions about when new assistance programs will become available.
SBA economic injury disaster loans are low-interest loans available to eligible small businesses, small
agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit
organizations in declared disaster areas. See CRS Report R44412, SBA Disaster Loan Program:
Frequently Asked Questions, by Bruce R. Lindsay, and CRS Insight IN11232, SBA Economic Injury
Disaster Loans for COVID-19, by Bruce R. Lindsay.
SBA also continues to offer a number of nondisaster loans and grants for small businesses and
organizations. For more information, contact local SBA affiliates:

SBA district offices
Small Business Development Centers
Other SBA-affiliated resource partners

Congressional Research Service
Prepared for Members and
Committees of Congress

Congressional Research Service


For summaries of non-disaster SBA assistance programs, see CRS Report RL33243, Small Business
Administration: A Primer on Programs and Funding, by Robert Jay Dilger and Sean Lowry.

Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Business Programs
The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Rural Development Business programs provide financial and
technical assistance to qualified rural businesses; see CRS Report RL31837, An Overview of USDA Rural
Development Programs, by Tadlock Cowan. USDA has also announced measures to assist businesses
affected by COVID-19.

Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a flexible program that provides funds to address a
wide range of community development needs, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. In
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some U.S. localities have announced efforts to support small
businesses with existing CDBG funds, and HUD has issued a guide for infectious disease response; see
CRS Insight IN11277, Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak with Community Development Block
Grant (CDBG) Authorities, by Michael H. Cecire and Joseph V. Jaroscak. For more information on
eligible activities, see HUD’s “CDBG Infectious Disease Response” webpage or contact local or state
CDBG administrators.

Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to
COVID-19, including information on workplace safety; wages, hours, and leave; unemployment
insurance; and other topics.

Department of the Treasury, Community Development Financial Institution Fund
The Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund supports organizations that provide
loans to businesses, homebuyers, community developers, and investors in distressed areas; see CRS
Report R42770, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund: Programs and Policy
Issues, by Sean Lowry.

Federal Government Contracting Opportunities
Incumbent and potential contractors may access federal agencies’ solicitations on the beta version of the
System for Award Management. For example, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development
Authority (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) issued a solicitation for advanced
development and licensing of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, or medicines. Although some
solicitations might include the term “COVID-19,” contracting opportunities related to the coronavirus
outbreak may not necessarily include this term or related terms.
Small businesses may find information about the federal procurement process in the SBA’s contracting
guide. See, also, CRS Report RS22536, Overview of the Federal Procurement Process and Resources, by
L. Elaine Halchin, and CRS Legal Sidebar LSB10428, COVID-19 and Federal Procurement Contracts,
by David H. Carpenter.

The Federal Reserve System
The Main Street Business Lending Program, a new initiative announced by the Federal Reserve, will
reportedly support eligible small and medium-sized businesses.

Congressional Research Service


Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service provides updated information on tax relief for individuals and businesses
affected by COVID-19, including news releases and frequently asked questions, on its Coronavirus Tax
Relief page; also, see CRS Report R46279, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)
Act—Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses, coordinated by Molly F. Sherlock.

Minority Business Development Agency
The Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the lead federal
agency dedicated to supporting the development and expansion of the minority business community.
Through a network of local business development centers, the MBDA carries out this mission by
providing a variety of business assistance services to minority-controlled business enterprises of all sizes.
Local Minority Business Development Centers are available in a number of communities.

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Manufacturing Extension
The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a national
network of centers that provide custom services to small and medium-sized manufacturers to improve
production processes, upgrade capabilities, and facilitate product innovation. For more information, see
CRS Report R44308, The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, by John F. Sargent Jr.

State, Local, and Private Resources
State and local economic development or commerce agencies may provide assistance to new and
established businesses. Many city and state governments are offering COVID-19 business relief in the
form of loans, grants, or tax-deferral programs.
Although foundations do not typically award grants to businesses, some private grantmakers or local
community foundations may also be possible resources in light of COVID-19. lists a growing number of resources on the federal government response to COVID-19. See the
“Businesses” section for links to the Department of Treasury, Export-Import Bank, Farm Credit
Administration, and other federal agencies.

Author Information
Maria Kreiser
Senior Research Librarian

Congressional Research Service


This document was prepared by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). CRS serves as nonpartisan shared staff
to congressional committees and Members of Congress. It operates solely at the behest of and under the direction of
Congress. Information in a CRS Report should not be relied upon for purposes other than public understanding of
information that has been provided by CRS to Members of Congress in connection with CRS’s institutional role.
CRS Reports, as a work of the United States Government, are not subject to copyright protection in the United
States. Any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without permission from CRS. However,
as a CRS Report may include copyrighted images or material from a third party, you may need to obtain the
permission of the copyright holder if you wish to copy or otherwise use copyrighted material.

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