SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Businesses potentially devastated by the coronavirus could find themselves with an extra lifeline from Sacramento's economic relief fund. 

The $1 million economic relief package comes after multiple coronavirus mitigation efforts from Governor Gavin Newsom that directed restaurant dining areas to close and seniors to isolate at home. 

“Our main goal is to provide support for our most significantly impacted small businesses to allow them to maintain their current employees,” said Assistant City Manager Michael Jasso. “As we move forward, we know that we will need to rely on all of our partners at the Federal, State, philanthropic, and institutional levels to come to the table with additional resources to help our business and non-profit community successfully weather this crisis.”

The City of Sacramento will start accepting applications on Wednesday at 5 p.m. 

Businesses could be eligible for up to $25,000 zero-interest secured loans.

“Staying home and limiting social interaction is what we need to do to slow the curve of coronavirus infection,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “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 cavalry will come from many directions.” 

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These loans will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to application who qualify. Priority is being given to restaurants, retail businesses with store fronts, and day care providers that have clear hardships relating to the coronavirus, but nonprofits can apply as well.

Roughly $250,000 of the fund will be available for micro-businesses that have five employees or less.

Loans will be available with payments starting 90 days after the emergency declaration ends. If you need help navigating the program, you can call the city's small business hotline at 916-808-7196 or see full details on their website here.

Criteria for a loan is as follows:

  • Be for-profit, independently owned local 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. With the exception of child-care businesses, this doesn't include home-based businesses
  • Have a demonstrated hardship due to the coronavirus, such as a loss in revenue
  • Have written sick leave policies to assist workers impacted by the coronavirus 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
  • Have a current City of Sacramento Business Operations Tax Certificate and have been in operation as of March 13, 2020

Coronavirus background

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.

The CDC also says facemasks should only be used by people who show symptoms of the virus. If you’re not sick, you do not have to wear a facemask. The CDC says the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low.

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WATCH ALSO: California Coronavirus; Gov. Gavin Newsom talks COVID-19, advises bar & restaurant closure