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Austin Launches New Loan Program for Small Businesses, Including Restaurants

The deadline is Friday, May 8

A closed-up food truck court along Red River
A closed-up food truck court along Red River
PorqueNo Studios/Shutterstock
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Austin launched a new emergency relief loan program to help small businesses in the city — including restaurants — weather the loss of revenue during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Funds from the Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program are meant to be used to keep staffers employed and pay expenses and bills, such as rent and debts.

The city government has set aside approximately $6 million for this new fund, which will support loans up to $35,000, according to the public information specialist for Austin. Approved and distributed loans will have to be repaid within 12 months starting from the closing date with a 3.75 percent interest rate.

In order to apply for the loans, businesses must be impacted by the pandemic, have already applied for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s economic injury disaster loan (EIDL), and be located in Austin. Businesses must also share tax returns dating from 2017 through 2019 (or show an extension letter for 2019). That means restaurants that haven’t been open long enough to file 2019 taxes are not eligible.

The application deadline is Friday, May 8, which is also the same date that the “stay home, work safe” order lifts in the city. The loan program is being administered by the City of Austin and its Economic Development Department, with the approval of the Austin City Council and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Currently, SBA isn’t accepting further applications for EIDL as of Thursday, April 16, but it is still processing already-submitted applications.

EIDL is separate from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which are loans meant to be used for business payrolls. The State of Texas teamed up with Goldman Sachs and San Antonio-based nonprofit LiftFund to distribute PPP loans. Though the original deadline was Tuesday, June 30, those applications are now closed.