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Division of Small Business

COVID-19 Information for DE Small Businesses

Need help figuring out which state or federal loan program is best for your business’s needs? This chart can help.
How to check if your businesses has been ordered closed by 8 AM on March 24, 2020 

  1. Find your business’s NAICS code by:
    1. Looking at your unemployment insurance forms
    2. Looking at your most recent tax returns
    3. Searching Google for your industry and “NAICS code”
  2. Identify the first FOUR digits of your NAICS code
  3. Find those four digits on this list to determine your business’s status (list last updated at 4:00 PM on 3/26/2020)
  4.  If you still have questions, email 

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Find Delaware businesses still safely open for patronizing, whether in-person or online, with this map.



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April 2, 2020, 3:00 PM

An important reminder for businesses before making donations to help fight COVID-19: Some businesses may have existing relationships with their respective lenders that include(s) a covenant that gives the lender a BLANKET lien on all property, equipment, inventory, etc. It is an important discussion to have with your lender before donating goods, materials and/or equipment so that your business does not inadvertently trigger a default by donating something for which the bank has a lien position. If you have additional questions after speaking with your bank, email

April 1, 2020, 12:00 PM

More programs are coming online from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small businesses deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

Information on the new options can be found here.

A chart comparing the different loan opportunities available to small businesses at the state and federal level can be found here.

March 31, 2020, 10:00 AM

The information below seeks to provide some limited guidance regarding essential and non-essential businesses and how to conform with Delaware’s State of Emergency restrictions. Please find the current list of essential and non-essential businesses above. The list is updated regularly, as changes are made. Make sure you use the most recent version (date and time can be found at bottom of PDF).

A designation of essential does not mean a business can operate without restrictions, just as a designation of non-essential does not mean a business must cease operations completely. Below are general instructions for each business type, though some industries have more specific guidance.

For essential businesses (open to in-person customers at this time)

  • Essential businesses must follow all Centers for Disease Control guidelines for safe social distancing (see Fourth Modification of the State of Emergency, paragraph 5). For full information on the CDC guidance, click here. But these are a few basic things to keep in mind:
  • Customers in your store must remain six feet apart from both each other and staff. If the size of crowds within a store or the size of the store makes this difficult, it is the responsibility of the business owner to restrict access to their store in order to maintain these standards. This may mean limiting access to your store, including to ask customers to line up outside or to wait in their cars before they can enter. Customers in line must also remain six feet apart.
  • All surfaces that customers may touch (door knobs, tables, desks, handrails, POS equipment, etc.) should be disinfected regularly and frequently by staff.
  • Limit handling of cash at POS. Customers should scan credit cards themselves when feasible.

For non-essential businesses (closed to in-person customers at this time or with exceptions)

Any violations may be subject to criminal prosecution or other civil remedies.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to the well-being of all Delawareans to keep your place of business safe, comply the State of Emergency orders and exercise common-sense in following both the letter and spirit of the orders to help ensure public safety.  

March 26, 2020, 12:00 PM

Gov. John Carney has approved an expansion of the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program to reach a wider range of small businesses throughout Delaware.

The cap on the size of eligible businesses, which had been $1.5 million in annual revenue, has been raised to $2.5 million.

The program has been expanded primarily to include personal care services (8121). This includes many Delaware small businesses such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and beauty shops.

The loans will still be eligible to apply towards expenses like a lease payment, utility bill or insurance payment, with the goal of helping as many small businesses as possible get through this difficult period.

H.E.L.P. offers no-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month. The money can go toward rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months.

Click here to apply.

The Division of Small Business has been processing the multitude of applications that have come in for the H.E.L.P. and expects to have the first payments starting to go out by the end of the week.

As business owners have worked on the applications, they have had numerous questions. The most frequently asked with answers are provided below.

Q) Does all the paperwork need to be completed, or should I submit to hold my place in line?

  • Send in your application and related documents only once you have compiled all of them. Applications will not be placed into the queue for processing until ALL required documentation is submitted.

Q: Will the loan be turned into a grant?  

  • No – H.E.L.P. offers zero interest loans with a nine-month deferment period.  At the end of the 9 months borrowers will be required to start making payments on the amount disbursed under the program.

Q: What do I do if my bank won’t let me accept another loan? 

  • We would encourage you to reach out to your bank to discuss your options. You may still be able to apply for H.E.L.P.

Q: Can I apply if my annual revenue is over $2.5 Million? Can I get more than $10,000?

  • At this time the program is only open to those businesses with annual revenue at or below $2.5 million and is capped at $10,000 per business per month (if a group with multiple locations, this is based on all combined).  Businesses with revenue over $2.5 million are encouraged to reach out to the SBA if they need financial assistance. Any changes to the program will be posted to the Division of Small Business Coronavirus website –

Q: Why do you need all the financial data and business license information? 

  • H.E.L.P. offers loans to eligible applicants.  While the process is much simpler than traditional underwriting, this data is needed to verify eligibility for the program.

Q: What if my business is not eligible for H.E.L.P.?

  • Applications received for ineligible businesses will not be processed. The SBA is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million regardless of industry. More information is available at If any additions or changes are made to H.E.L.P., the updates will be shared at

March 24, 2020, 8:00 PM

Governor John Carney on Tuesday provided additional guidance from the State to help employers better understand the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, which ordered Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closed all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The most frequently asked questions and answers are provided below.

Q: Does the order require that I obtain any paperwork, either as an employer or an employee of an essential business, to clarify that status?

  • No, it does not, and no such paperwork is needed. A full list of essential industries can be found here. If your business activity is on that list, your business is permitted to remain open as long as it follows all necessary CDC guidelines for safety at this time.

Q: My employer says our business is essential, do I still need to report to work?

  • Staffing questions should be addressed between employers and employees. As long as employers are following applicable guidelines on both leave and on the recent essential designation, then employees should handle any requests directly with employers.

Q: How do I determine if my business is designated as essential?

  • The easiest way is to use the four-digit NAICS code associated with the business. If you are the owner of the business, you can locate your NAICS code by a) looking at your unemployment insurance forms, b) looking at your most recent tax returns, or c) searching Google for your industry followed by the term “NAICS code”.
  • If you are not the owner of your business, please contact your manager or other appropriate employment supervisor and ask them for clarification on the business status.

Q: What happens if my business fails to comply with the order, either regarding our status as essential or non-essential, or with following CDC guidelines?

  • Failure to follow CDC guidelines will result in closure on an individual firm basis until the State of Emergency is lifted. Businesses who continue to operate even if they have been deemed non-essential will be given an initial grace if their failure to comply was done after a good faith effort to clarify their status, but those who do not comply and knowingly do so will be subject to civil and in some cases criminal penalties.

Q: What if my business has multiple NAICS codes?

  • Follow the least restrictive code. If one code is deemed essential while others are not, the business should be considered essential unless further clarification has been given by the state to you directly or through an industry trade group.

Q: Can I change my NAICS code to a code that is essential?

  • The NAICS code that should be used is the NAICS code that the business had for their most recent unemployment and/or tax filings prior to the issuance of the State of Emergency. A business classified as non-essential who changes or adds a NAICS code in order to fall under the essential category will be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as a company that knowingly fails to comply with the order.

March 22, 2020, 5:00 PM

Governor John Carney on Sunday issued the fourth and fifth modifications to his State of Emergency declaration, ordering Delawareans to stay at home whenever possible and closing all non-essential businesses in Delaware to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

The orders go into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. They will remain in effect until May 15 or until the public health threat is eliminated.

Click here for a full list of essential and non-essential businesses, as defined by the order. (list last updated at 4:00 PM on 3/26/2020)

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.

Leaving your home is allowed under Governor Carney’s order for essential activities. Delawareans may leave their homes to get groceries, pick up a prescription, see a doctor, and engage in other activities essential to their health, and the health and well-being of their family members, including pets. Delawareans may also engage in outdoor activity, but must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Additional details are available in the text of Governor Carney’s order.

Employers must follow social distancing policies, protect high-risk workers, provide hand-washing or sanitizer stations, and follow all health guidelines for internal cleaning. Visitors are not allowed at essential Delaware businesses under Sunday’s order, unless they are providing an essential service.

March 20, 2020, 11:30 AM

The application for the state of Delaware Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) is available here.

The program offers no-interest loans for Delaware hospitality businesses adversely affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

It is limited to businesses in specified NAICS codes and that have been in business and generating revenue for at least 12 months.

Scroll down for a more in-depth description of the program, including the list of NAICS codes and other eligibility requirements.

For questions, please email

For businesses not eligible for HELP, the SBA is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per business. Click here to learn about applying for an EID loan.


March 18, 2020, 6:00 PM

Delaware has been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Small businesses and nonprofits can now apply for the loans by clicking here or by contacting the SBA at 1-800-659-2955 to request a paper application.

The SBA also has provided a fact sheet on the program with additional information.


March 18, 2020, 4:00 PM

Gov. Carney has announced the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) to provide funds to some of the businesses and nonprofits in the state most significantly impacted by Coronavirus. It will make no-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month available to eligible businesses in the hospitality industry.

Click here to read the press release for additional information.

Business Eligibility

  • Must have been open at least one year
  • Cannot have more than $2.5 million in annual revenue (if a group with multiple locations, this is based on all combined)
  • On bills for which business seeks reimbursement
    • Must be current for at least 80 percent of payments over past 12 months
    • Not past due on most current bill
  • Must operate in one of the following four-digit NAICS code industries (more information on NAICS codes):
    • 7225 Restaurants and Other Eating Places
    • 7224 Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)
    • 7223 Special Food Services
    • 7211 Traveler Accommodations
    • 7139 Other Amusement and Recreation
    • 7131 Amusement Parks & Arcades
    • 7121 Museums and Historical Sites
    • 7113 Promoters of Performing Arts
    • 7112 Spectator Sports
    • 7111 Performing Arts Companies
    • 4855 Charter Bus Industry
    • 4879 Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Other
    • 4872 Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water
    • 4871 Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Land
    • 3121 Beverage Manufacturing
    • 3118 Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing
    • 8121 Personal Care

*** The application will be posted as soon as possible. In the meantime, businesses can begin to gather the necessary information and documents to apply. The business must show it has been current for at least 80 percent of payments over the past 12 months and not past due on its most recent payment on any bill for which it is applying. This can be done through proof of payments or a letter from the entity to which the money was due. ***

The no-interest loans are capped at $10,000 per business per month. The money can cover rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months.

The Division of Small Business will administer the program using existing state funds and is aiming to have an application available later this week. Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least a year, have annual revenue below $1.5 million and be in a certain hospitality-connected industries.

More information will be posted as it becomes available. If you have additional questions about eligibility, please email or call 302-739-4271.


March 17, 2020, 6:00 PM

The Department of Labor has expanded unemployment benefits to workers impacted by the pandemic. Click here to read more.

Delaware is awaiting notification from the SBA of the approved Economic Injury Declaration. In the meantime, you can start gathering the necessary documents to apply. Click here to see what you’ll need.  


March 17, 2020, 10:00 AM

Governor John Carney on has submitted an application formally requesting the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide Delaware an Economic Injury Declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties. An additional update will be coming when the declaration is approved.

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