New low-interest loans for RI firms after COVID-19 disaster declared

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued an economic disaster declaration for Rhode Island due to the coronavirus pandemic, opening up low-interest federal loans to small companies suffering an economic shock from the crisis.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said he was informed early Tuesday afternoon that the SBA had agreed to the declaration, which was requested Monday by Gov. Gina Raimondo with the support of Reed and the congressional delegation’s other three members.

During a news conference Tuesday, Raimondo said the declaration means business owners can apply to the SBA for low-interest emergency loans of up to $2 million to provide working capital.

“This SBA declaration is an important step, but it can’t be a substitute for further congressional action,” Reed spokesperson Chip Unruh said in a statement. “Low-interest loans can help some small businesses, but Senator Reed is working to secure additional relief for those who’ve been hit hardest by the economic fallout of this crisis.”

The disaster declaration is backdated to begin Jan. 31.

For more information, visit, call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 or contact the R.I. Commerce Corp.’s small business hotline at 401-521-HELP.

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Ted Nesi ( is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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