In this June 15, 2018 photo, twenty dollar bills are counted in North Andover, Mass. Credit: Elise Amendola | AP

As of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 19, 42 Maine residents have been confirmed positive and 10 others are presumed positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.

The Finance Authority of Maine said Thursday it will offer loans with favorable terms to businesses experiencing interruptions or hardships because of the coronavirus.

The authority said the money could provide $15 million in support for 300 small- to medium-sized businesses in the state.

It is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration and Maine banks and credit unions to offer limited-time loans and loan insurance to eligible Maine businesses affected by COVID-19.

Included in the program are loans up to $50,000 at reduced-interest rates and loans with interest-only payments.

Businesses can get bridge loans from the finance authority for up to $100,000, with special terms to eligible borrowers who are able to get a commitment for financing from the Small Business Administration. The finance authority loan would be available quickly until the business owner receives the money from the Small Business Administration. That money would in turn be used to pay off the finance authority’s interim loan.

More details on the loan and loan insurance options are on the authority’s website.

Funds for the finance authority’s programs are limited. It set aside $5 million for the direct loan program and $10 million for the loan insurance program. The direct loan program could help new or existing businesses that might not be able to get loans through traditional lenders.

Separately, the Small Business Administration will offer up to loans of up to $2 million for qualifying small businesses through its Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

The Legislature recently enacted emergency legislation for a new consumer loan guarantee program, the COVID-19 Relief Consumer Loan Program, that the authority will run with lenders. It will provide a limited number of no-to low-interest consumer loans to individuals or employees of up to $5,000, minus any unemployment benefits the borrower receives.

Each borrower can apply for up to three loans, one per 30-day period. Interested borrowers should first contact their bank or credit union to see if it offers the program. this program and to apply.

Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...