The COVID-19 pandemic has been circling the globe since late 2019. This novel coronavirus has been very virulent, as people had developed no immunity to it yet. During that time, there have been thousands of deaths in many places. Who can forget the images of Italy and Spain at the height of the epidemic? To avoid casualties, nations like the United States, Canada, and the UK have shut down many industries to keep the virus spreading.

Of course, this has had severe impacts on many small and medium-sized enterprises. There have been worries that many of these businesses would not be able to come back. The UK has made a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Program available to help companies make it through the shutdown. This program sponsored by the government will guarantee 80% of each loan. That’s what makes it possible for banks and other financial institutions to provide this money to businesses.

There are some key points to consider when applying for these loans. Banks and insurers are not permitted to apply, nor are public-sector businesses. Schools funded by the state at the secondary and primary levels are also not eligible. Other than that, any small or medium-sized enterprise may apply for this kind of loan. There are some other eligibility requirements for these loans. For example, they must be based in the United Kingdom. To qualify as small or medium-sized, they can’t transact more than £45 million annually. The feeling is that those businesses will have the resources to manage for themselves.

Small and medium-sized enterprises can ask for any amount of money up to £5 million under this program. Businesses applying for loans will, of course, have to provide information to the government to qualify. This will include records of their accounts. They’ll need to list what assets they have. They’ll also need to write and provide a business plan to the government. For very small businesses run by sole proprietors like dog-walkers, these documents may not be available. Those individuals are still advised to apply for the CBILs program. Chancellor Rishi Sunak was the architect of this plan. It continues to evolve as new applications are received.