FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – The Small Business Administration has announced a six-month deferment on existing COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

The SBA says the extension is going to help provide additional flexibility to small business owners impacted by the pandemic, especially those who are still managing disruption with recent variants.

The extension is also meant to help business owners who have been struggling with the recent supply chain and inflation challenges amid a growing economic recovery.

As the country passes the two-year mark of the pandemic, Victor Bribiesca, an economic development specialist with the SBA, says new small businesses are opening at about a 30% higher rate than before the state-wide COVID-related shutdowns.

“The recovery has spurred a surge in entrepreneurship and Americans are applying to start new businesses at a record rate,” explained Bribiesca.

However, Bribiesca says there are still several obstacles small business owners are still facing as they continue to recover from the pandemic.

“Right now, one of the biggest obstacles is inflation, of course, rising costs, so the SBA is ensuring more equitable access to affordable capital,” said Bribiesca.

Bribiesca says the SBA is planning to relaunch its LenderMatch service, which helps match small business owners with lenders.