COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

COVID-19 Small Business Relief Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund - Phase II

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the request of the Berke Administration, the Chattanooga City Council approved an additional $300,000 for small business assistance. This funding will be administered by the Southeast Tennessee Development District (SETD). This funding is only available to small businesses that were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions mandated by last year’s executive orders.

COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund

On Monday, March 30, 2020, Mayor Andy Berke announced that the City of Chattanooga will make approximately $2.5 million available for small business relief. This relief will be provided to small businesses in the form of grants and loans. Grants and loans are based on the availability of funding, pending approval by the Chattanooga City Council and the Industrial Development Board. Initial grants and loans are available to small businesses that had fewer than 50 employees prior to the passage of the Mayor’s executive orders. Priority will be shown to businesses directly impacted by Mayor Berke’s Executive Orders, including restaurants, fitness centers, barbershops, hair salons, tanning salons, etc.

US SBA Payroll Funds

Are you a for-profit, non-profit, or sole proprietor worried about making payroll?

The Paycheck Protection Program provides eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small employers who keep paying their employees during this emergency. Call your bank and ask about this Small Business Administration (SBA) loan that helps businesses under 500 employees keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The CARES Act appropriated almost $350 billion to the new Paycheck Protection Program.  

The program facilitates zero-to-low interest loans that are forgivable if businesses retain their employees through June 2020, making them similar to repayable grants if conditions are met. In addition, applicants can qualify for a $10,000 forgivable advance (grant) within three days of application.

Loan Forgiveness

Loan forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of .5%. If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a sample form to see the information that will be requested from you. 

You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.


US SBA Funding

Small businesses that have been adversely impacted by the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) should apply for disaster relief funding from the United States Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Relief Program for small businesses. The State of Tennessee’s application for disaster relief funding for COVID-19 has been approved. Businesses in Hamilton County are eligible to apply for SBA funding.

SBA Links/Video

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance

SBA Loan Disaster Loan Highlights (video)
Chattanooga Chamber Video Interview with Lynn Chestnutt of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Business Incubator

If you need assistance, contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center.
Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

Displaced Workers

Small businesses that have laid off displaced workers should report this information to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development and the City of Chattanooga’s Office of Workforce Development. Displaced workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development for Employers

TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development for Displaced Employees to apply for unemployment benefits

Additional resources

If your business or organization would like to donate or help out organizations or individuals adversely impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19, please reach out to the United Way of Greater Chattanooga to learn more about how you can help.

If your business or organization is looking for resources to support workers that were displaced because of the outbreak of COVID-19, please reach out to the United Way of Greater Chattanooga to learn more about the resources available for displaced workers

Facebook is offering resources to businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook operates. Specifically, Facebook is establishing a $100 million fund to offer cash grants as well as Facebook ad credits to small businesses adversely impacted by the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Restaurants Open for Business

Although dine-in service at restaurants and bars within the Chattanooga city limits was shut down due to Mayor Andy Berke’s Executive Order, takeout / delivery/ and drive-through options for food are still available. If your restaurant is open for takeout / delivery / and/or drive-through, please make sure it’s listed on the Chattanooga Chamber’s website of open restaurants.

List of restaurants open for takeout / delivery / and drive through