The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has agreed to provide financial relief to businesses that were directly impacted by the October 25th mass shooting in Lewiston and related lockdowns.
Last week, Gov. Janet Mills (D) asked the SBA to issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration that would allow affected businesses to apply for loan of up to $2 million.
On Monday, the SBA opened up these low-interest loans to eligible businesses in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties, as well as the adjacent counties of Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, and Oxford.
Businesses are eligible to receive these loans if they closed in accordance with the shelter-in-place orders that were issued during the more than forty-eight hour manhunt for the mass shooting suspect.
“I thank the U.S. Small Business Administration for quickly approving my request to help impacted Maine businesses,” Gov. Mills said in her Monday press release. “I encourage eligible Maine businesses to apply for this relief. My Administration will continue to look for additional non-loan support for businesses impacted by the tragedy in Lewiston.”
Four percent interest rates will be available for businesses, and non-profits will be eligible for interest rates as low as 2.375%. Up to thirty-year loan terms are available to all eligible entities.
Money from these SBA loans may be used to cover expenses that would have needed to be paid regardless of the tragedy occurring, including fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills.
These loans are not intended to help replace profits or sales that were lost as a result of the shelter-in-place order.
Those in need of financial assistance who believe they may be eligible can apply online at sba.gov/disaster under declaration #20075.
Applications for these loans will be accepted through August 6, 2024.
The SBA will also be opening a Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Lewiston from November 8 through November 21 at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (415 Lisbon Street, Suite 100).
The BRC will be open from 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday and on Saturdays from 10am until 2pm. The Center will be closed on November 10 in observance of Veterans Day.
On Wednesday, November 8 — the first day that the BRC is operational — the center will be open from 11am until 6pm.
When the BRC closes permanently on Tuesday, November 21, it will shut its doors at 4pm.
During the two-day manhunt for the Lewiston mass shooting suspect Robert R. Card, Jr., many schools, municipal facilities, and businesses were closed in compliance with shelter-in-place orders and out of an abundance of caution for residents’ safety.
In a press release from the SBA, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman expressed support for those in Maine who were impacted by last month’s tragedy.
“SBA stands ready to help Maine’s small business owners impacted by the mass shooting in Lewiston, which tragically took lives and disrupted neighborhoods,” Guzman said. “With today’s announcement, we stand committed to providing on-the-ground assistance federal economic injury disaster loans to help businesses and communities get the financial support they might need to recover and rebuild their neighborhood businesses.”