A Guide to the CARES Act for Small Businesses & Water Treatment Providers

May 6, 2020

What is the CARES Act and how can water treatment providers utilize it?

About the author:

Lauren Del Ciello | managing editor | [email protected]


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a pandemic. Following that declaration, states throughout the U.S. have reacted differently, with many states enacting shelter-in-place protocols. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends citizens practice social distancing and frequent handwashing to minimize the spread of the disease.

On March 27, 2020, U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in response to national and global concerns surrounding COVID-19 and subsequent economic impacts. The act includes a $2 trillion economic stimulus package to target the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as nearly $350 billion in support of small businesses. Below, WQP provides a quick guide to some of the key provisions in the act that may impact small business owners and/or water treatment providers, as well as links and resources to point you in the direction to start an application process and/or verify qualifications. If you are unsure if your business qualifies as a small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a tool to identify if your business qualifies here

The following are some of the key components of the CARES Act that can provide aid to eligible small businesses: 

  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • Small Business Debt Relief Program
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants
  • Small Business Counseling

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program authorizes up to $349 billion toward job retention and other expenses for small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veteran organizations and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as eligible self-employed or independent contractors, according to SBA. Those eligible can qualify for a loan of up to $10 million with loan payments deferred for up to six months. If a business maintains its workforce following the loan, SBA will forgive a portion of the loan proceeds used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll and other qualifying expenses.

Businesses can apply for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program through the Treasury Department’s CARES Act resource page here.

Small Business Debt Relief Program

The Small Business Debt Relief Program provides relief to eligible small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, including 7(a), 504, and microloans. SBA will cover loan payments for up to six months under this program. 

Learn more on the debt relief initiative through SBA here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants

This program grants an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to eligible small businesses impacted by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). According to SBA, the advance does not need to be repaid and can be used for immediate expenses, such as keeping employees on payroll, sick lead, or increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions. A business must have been operating since January 31, 2020, when the public health crisis relating to COVID-19 was announced to qualify for the program. 

Apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan on the SBA’s website here.

Small Business Counseling

CARES Act also provides small business counseling to help small businesses navigate COVID-19 concerns and the new provisions. Local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers (WBC) and SCORE mentorship chapters offer free counseling and low-cost training to small businesses. These partners and associations that represent them receive additional funds to support small business owners surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic concerns. 

Find a resource partner for small business counseling services through SBA’s website here.

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