As COVID-19 emerges as a global concern, the Kilgore Area Chamber of Commerce is monitoring the situation and we want to provide you with accurate information, useful tools and resources that allow you to operate your business effectively. Facts Matter!

At the moment, there are two components to qualify for an SBA loan.  First, counties in Texas must meet an economic impact threshold for businesses within those counties to become eligible for loans.  Once a county is certified by SBA, then businesses within that county can become eligible for the loans.  I’ve outlined the two steps Texas businesses in need should take below.

Open Texas Manual from Governor Abbott 4.27.2020

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  1. Register with the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM):  The SBA has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities.  Before a business can become eligible to receive funds, the county in which it resides must first meet an economic impact threshold.  The Governor’s Office and TDEM are currently working with SBA to qualify counties for this declaration, and we expect it will happen soon.  To help that process, Texans should register with TDEM here.
  2. Apply for an SBA loan: Once Texas counties are certified by the SBA (stemming from step #1 above), qualified businesses that have applied will be eligible to start receiving funds.  You can apply for an SBA loan here.  SBA’s factsheet on SBA Disaster Loan Assistance is below, and a step-by-step process for business owners in both English and Spanish is attached.  For additional information, I encourage you to visit the SBA website.

Disaster Loan Assistance

Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters

Apply For A Disaster Loan

You can apply online for all types of SBA disaster assistance loans. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about your loan eligibility. You have the option of submitting a paper application by mail. For either application, you must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS Form 4506-T giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.

You may also apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center and receive personal, one-on-one help from an SBA representative. For information or to find a location near you, please contact our Customer Service Center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

The Three-Step Process: Disaster Loans
The Three-Step Process: Disaster Loans (en Espanol)

Required Information to Complete the Application
After a Presidential disaster declaration, you must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To obtain a registration number, call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585) or visit

The following information is required to complete the SBA online application:

  • Contact information for all applicants
  • Social security numbers for all applicants
  • FEMA registration number
  • Deed or lease information
  • Insurance information
  • Financial information (e.g. income, account balances and monthly expenses)
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) for business applicants

Alternative Funding Resources

Community Development Financial Institutions – CDFIs: An alternative to SBA loans, CDFI’s are private financial institutions, 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending and helping those that may not be well-served by conventional lenders as well as disadvantaged people and communities. An example is: PeopleFund and a full list is available at
Hello Alice: is offering $10,000 grants being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by coronavirus as part of their broader mission to ensure Business for All. Grants will be distributed on a rolling basis. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community.
M.Roberts Media Community Marketing Grant: M. Roberts Media will grant up to $1 Million of matching marketing dollars to local businesses in Texas. These are matching funds so every dollar invested by the local business will be matched by the Marketing Grant fund up to $15,000 – based on approval and availability. Grant funds may be used in print or digital marketing efforts through any M. Roberts Media location or product (Kilgore News Herald is included). Apply at their website


U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA): Rural Development Guaranteed Loan Programs: Effective immediately until September 30, 2020, lenders may offer 180-day loan payment deferrals without prior agency approval for:

For additional information, visit Rural Development COVID-19 Response.

USDA offers a variety of funding opportunities to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners finance their businesses. There are also microloans available for small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm operations, such as truck farms, farms participating in direct marketing and sales such as farmers’ markets, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponic, organic and vertical growing methods. Visit their website to learn about funding programs.

Employer Information

The Texas Workforce Commission is a valuable source that can assist small businesses during these turbulent times. Visit the TWC website for resources available to employers and job seekers impacted by the COVID-19.Services include:
  • Assisting businesses with managing and preventing lay-offs
  • Available statewide network of Workforce Solutions Offices
  • Continuation of job matching and training services
  • Ongoing communication with employers to provide information and updates about services and resources
Find more Resources for Employers: The Commissioner for Employers legal team is available Monday through Friday (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to answer employment law questions. Please contact them at 800-832-9394 or
Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides tax credits to reimburse employers for the costs of providing paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave to employees unable to work because of the coronavirus (COVID-19). These credits are refundable.The law is intended to allow employers to keep employees on their payrolls, while at the same time making sure employees aren’t forced to choose between their paychecks and public health measures needed to combat COVID-19. These credits are available to eligible employers beginning April 1, 2020, for qualifying leave they provide between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
Employee Retention Credit: is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make.
The Shared Work Program: provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs and helps Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business. Shared Work allows employers to:
  • Supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits
  • Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent; the reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. FFCRA will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by reimbursing American private employers that have fewer than 500 employees with tax credits for the cost of providing employees with paid leave taken for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Please ensure that you have the mandatory labor law poster on display at your place of work, download a copy in English here and in Spanish here. Visit the US Department of Labor website for the full details
COVID-19 Child Care Resources Website for Essential Workers, effective June 1 this program will no longer be available. Essential workers who have yet to apply for subsidized care have until Wednesday, May 20, 2020, to do so.

Information for Job Seekers

The Texas Workforce Commission has issued guidelines to unemployment claimants concerning continued eligibility for unemployment benefits should they refuse rehire.
**Update: The Texas Workforce Commission is expanding the number of staff available as well as hours taking calls. Starting April 10, call centers will be open from 7 AM to 7 PM. Starting April 13, TWC will move to a 7-days-a-week schedule. Call 800 939 6631.
If an individual’s employment has been affected by COVID-19, they may apply for benefits either online by using the Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS) or by calling TWC at 800.939.6631 according to the schedule shown below.   The staggered call schedule will help to alleviate long wait times and overwhelmed call centers. Please check with your employer before applying for benefits to ensure they have not filed a “mass claim” on your behalf. For questions about unemployment or employment insurance call 800.832.2829 or email
Area Code of Applicant Suggested Call Time
Beginning with 9 Mon-Wed               8 AM – noon
Beginning with 3, 4, 5, 6 Mon-Wed               1 PM – 5 PM
Beginning with 7,8 Tues-Thurs, Sat     8 AM – noon
Beginning with 2 Tues-Thurs, Sat     1 PM – 5 PM

For more information on COVID-19 and unemployment benefits, visit:

Workforce Solutions East Texas: Contact career advisers at 1-844-ETWORKS (844-389-6757) for individual assistance or visit Workforce Solutions East Texas had created a free series of webinars to assist East Texans manage their time and maximize their skillsets while they are home or working reduced hours. These are free to attend you just need to register your attendance in advance. View the full list of webinars and register here.


Retail To Go Guidelines

Independent Contractor’s Guide to CARES Act Relief

Save Small Business Fund from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation goes active on 04.20.2020 at Noon.  The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories.

A guide to helping small businesses navigate and recover from the COVID-19 crisis

Citizens Bank  COVID-19 SBA Paycheck Protection Program

The Longview Chamber of Commerce has allowed the Kilgore and Tyler Chambers of Commerce to co-host a series of Webinars regarding the COVID-19 Crisis.  Here is a link to their YouTube Channel in order for you to view the videos. And the link to their website calendar for future webinars you can sign up to attend for free.

Kilgore qualifies as a rural community for Texas Department of Agriculture assistance/loans and for USDA assistance and loans

CARES Act Guidelines

CARES Loans pdf

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Louisiana SBA Video for Small Business Owners

Facebook for Office of the Governor Greg Abbott

Texas Department of State Health Services

Texas Department of Emergency Management

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Net Health

US Chamber Guide

US Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation COVID-19

Gregg County Texas

City of Kilgore (updated 3.26.2020)

Kilgore College

Kilgore ISD


Available Dining

We have compiled a list of take-out menus for area restaurants.

Kilgore area drive-thru restaurants