Small business owners in North Carolina and South Carolina are being forced to make some hard choices. Do I pay rent for my commercial space, or do I pay my employees? What if I can’t do either? What if I can only do one? 

Some businesses have been able to adapt and get creative to make it through these hard times, but may not be operating at 100%. Other businesses are facing severe hardships through no fault of their own and have already closed their doors or are hanging on by a thread. If you fall into one of these categories, there is help available to you. 

The CARES Act was recently passed by Congress. Although the details are still being worked out, the purpose is to give small business owners immediate help to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a few options to help you pay your rent and pay your employees. For the most up to date information please visit

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows small businesses to keep workers on payroll during the pandemic. You can also use the money to pay rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. 

  • Has the potential of the all or most of the loan to be forgiven (businesses that pay all employees for 8 weeks will not have to repay loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, utilities)
  • Only for small businesses with less than 500 employees
  • It covers sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, private non-profits, veteran’s organizations

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL) is a loan that can provide up to $2 million dollars at 3.75% interest for a 30-year term. Most non-profits will have a 2.75% interest rate. While the payments are deferred for 12 months, the interest does accrue. 

  • Advances up to $10,000 within 3 days of successful application – does not need to be repaid
  • No personal guarantee for loans under $200,000
  • Collateral required for loans over $25,000
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, co-op, or tribal small businesses are eligible
  • There are some exclusions on how you can use the money (dividends, bonuses, expansion/acquisition of real estate, refinancing debt)
  • Apply for the loan here:

In addition, you can apply and use both PPP and EIDL as long as the funds are used for different purposes. Please consult for the most current information.

SBA Express Bridge Loans is for small businesses who have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender.

  • Access up to $25,000
  • Quick turnaround
  • Repaid in full or part by an EIDL loan

As you can see, there are many options available to you that are designed to give your business the lifeboat it may need. You will be able to pay your employees, pay your monthly rent or mortgage, and basically keep the lights on until your business can reopen.  

Disclaimer: The logistics are still being worked out and the rules and regulations are very fluid at the time this article was posted. You will find the most up to date information on Please consult with an SBA preferred lender, your bank, or your accountant for their professional recommendations. 

Brian Smith, CCIM, MBA, is the founder of Regent Commercial Real Estate, located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He specializes in tenant and landlord representation in North Carolina and South Carolina. He is an expert in his field and welcomes the opportunity to answer any questions you may have during this confusing and uncertain time.