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CARES Act | Small Business Relief

On March 27th, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act of 2020 ("
the CARES Act"), a stimulus bill that includes loan programs to help small businesses during COVID-19-related business closures.

Business Interruption Grants

The Arkansas CARES Act Committee has established the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program to support businesses in the service & hospitality industries negatively impacted due to government COVID-19 directives. Eligible businesses include businesses that were closed and/or had restricted operations due directly to Executive Order by the Governor or a Directive by the AR Department of Health. Impacted businesses can apply for up to $250,000 in funds to help with a variety of business expenses incurred during COVID-19 including payroll, PPE expenses, utilities, and marketing. Businesses that may have received funds from previous programs such as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Paycheck Protection Program, and Ready for Business grants are eligible to apply, but BIG grants cannot be used for expenses those programs already covered.

The application period for the BIG program begins Monday November 16, at 8:00 am and runs through Wednesday November 25, at 11:59 pm.  While this is not a first come first served basis and will not be reviewed until after the application period has ended; you should apply as soon as possible to ensure you have all the required documents.

For more information on how to apply, please visit

Payment Protection Program

The CARES Act includes a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which authorizes up to $349 billion of federally guaranteed loans to qualifying small businesses. This loan program expands eligibility for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and provides generous loan forgiveness.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Following the declaration of a national emergency to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the SBA also launched the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) for small business owners in the United States. These loans can be applied directly through the Small Business Administration.

In addition to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the SBA is offering an immediate $10,000 advance ("the Emergency Economic Injury Grant") within three days of applying for an EIDL. The advance does not need to be repaid. To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance from the SBA. 

For more information on the CARES Act programs, please refer to our information 

For information on other relief programs, please refer to the Arkansas Business sponsored Resource Guide for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19.