What Help is Available to Hawaii Small Business Owners During the COVID-19 Shutdown?

April 9, 2020 Written by Oralie Chapman

Many small business owners across Hawaii are struggling right now due to the necessary measures in place to prevent COVID-19 from ravaging our health care system and preventing unnecessary deaths. There are now four federal temporary relief options available to small businesses to help them through this time – though early reports are that the application process may be bumpy.


What help is available to small business owners during the COVID-19 shutdown?


Here are the four small business funding options available to small business owners affected by the Coronavirus pandemic through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):


1. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are loans of up to $2 million for businesses with 500 or fewer employees with loan terms of up to 30 years. Sole proprietors and self-employed people and contractors like gig workers and freelancers are also eligible for this loan. Businesses and contractors that apply for this loan are eligible for a $10,000 advance with no requirement to re-pay that portion if the money is spent on a specific list of expenses including paid leave, increased costs because of an interruption to supply chain and lease payments that are now unaffordable because of a drop in revenue caused by stay at home orders.


2. The Paycheck Protection Program will supply forgivable loans for businesses and non-profits with 500 or fewer employees for up to $10 million. The money is meant to cover eight weeks of payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities. Businesses who use part of the money for other expenses will owe that portion of the loan within two years at an interest rate of 1%. The loans are to be issued through private banks and backed by the government and are available through June 30, 2020. Click here for the Hawaii Lender List.


Note: businesses may apply for both the EIDL and the Paycheck Protection Program.


3. SBA Debt Relief: The SBA will automatically pay all principle, interest and fees for six months on current qualified loans and new qualified loans that are issued before Sept. 27, 2020. The SBA will also give automatic deferments through Dec. 31, 2020 on any currently serviced disaster loans.


4. SBA Express Bridge Loans: are available to businesses that have an existing business relationship with an SBA lender. The bridge loan can provide up to $25,000 quickly.


How can Hawaii business owners who have had to lay off their workers support them?


Business owners who are trying to ease the stress of employees they were forced to lay off during the shut down can point their workers to Hawaii’s unemployment claims process. Governor Ige has committed to providing unemployment benefits to Islanders who are out of work due to COVID-19 by using as liberal an interpretation of Hawaii’s unemployment laws as possible. The state is also working to reduce or eliminate experience rate adjustments for employers whose employees get unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.


How partnering with a PEO can help reduce issues with Coronavirus in the workplace


A PEO provides small businesses with many advantages that they might not otherwise be able to afford. These advantages have become even more important during this international health crisis.


When small business owners’ partner with Makai HR they:

  • Gain peace of mind that they are complying with all of Hawaii’s labor laws, which is especially important when decisions are being made about how to handle a health crisis.
  • Can provide comprehensive health care plans that will give your employees peace of mind about going to the doctor for treatment and testing.


We are also here to support your business when you decide to work remotely:

  • Our cloud-based platform means that your employees can manage their HR needs through a computer, tablet or phone, making it easier for them to work from home.
  • Our cloud based HRIS platform means that your HR team can manage HR remotely if they are sick or everyone is working remotely.


Pro tip: this is a good time to encourage all employees to update to Direct Deposit to reduce in person bank transactions and continue timely payroll payments. Do not delay. Contact us today to get started!