The U.S. Small Business Administration granted Governor Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for small businesses suffering during the statewide economic impact of coronavirus, according to a press release from the Governor’s office.

“Many small businesses are desperate right now and this SBA approval will help,” said Governor Cooper in the press release. “Even more is needed and we will continue to push for additional assistance while we work to protect the health of North Carolinians.”

The disaster declaration allows affected small businesses to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans to tide businesses over during a period of uncertainty.

Earlier this month, Cooper declared a state of emergency, activating the State Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate the response to coronavirus. Cooper also ordered a mandatory ban on gatherings of more than 100 and closed public schools for at least two weeks. The governor also closed restaurants and bars for dine-in service, while still allowing takeout or delivery options.

Read the full press release on SBA grants here.