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Hadassah Hair Studio on Main Street put Christmas decorations on its windows before closing in mid-March. It appears businesses like that will remain shut down beyond Passover season and Easter, due to the coronavirus.

The late Tom Petty put it well in a rock song: the waiting is the hardest part.

Especially when shut-down business owners are waiting to reopen, and potentially losing money as they do.

“I’m hearing both negative things and positive things,” Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce President Libby Spencer said.

Federal help is available for businesses enduring the coronavirus. The president of the Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation emphasized two potential outlets Wednesday.

“One of them is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan,” Hagerman said during the daily city-county briefing on COVID-19. “It’s a two-page application. The original application was extensive.”

The form can be found on the Small Business Administration website. Hagerman said it can be filled out in 10 minutes.

“Then they will give you a number and they will contact you,” he added.

Hagerman noted the SBA rules are changing daily. But right now, the SBA could provide a cash advance of $1,000 per employee, with a $10,000 maximum.

But because it’s a loan, the government expects you to repay it. The SBA notes the interest rate “will not exceed 4% per year,” and the loan could last for 30 years.

The other help on Hagerman’s radar is the Paycheck Protection Program. That loan is open to small businesses and non-profit organizations now. Hagerman said it will broaden to independent contractors and self-employed people Friday.

“I would apply for everything that I can apply for,” Hagerman said. “The worst they can do is tell you no.”

But that thinking is overpowering some banks. Since the PPP was launched last week, one banker told “Crain’s Cleveland Business” he’s seen a “tsunami” of applications. So Hagerman recommended consulting your home bank first.

“The bankers are overwhelmed right now, just like everybody else,” Hagerman said.

“Our bankers deserve a round of applause,” Spencer said. “They’ve done a great job in getting the information out.”

Hagerman will host a live discussion detailing some of the federal assistance at 1 p.m. today on the Kentucky Innovation Station’s Facebook page.

Some major businesses which remain open have announced they will close Sunday to give their employees a day of rest. They include Big Lots, Lowe’s and Rural King.

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