ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico state government is trying to help thousands of private businesses that are struggling to stay afloat through closures, cancellations, and limitations brought on by the COVID-19.

Amidst several public health orders banning mass gatherings and limiting the types of social gatherings in New Mexico, the state’s Economic Development (NMED) department says it’s been getting hammered with non-stop calls from business owners who are facing financial trouble.

“Businesses are losing revenue, we’re hearing it every single second, they’re having to shut down, they’re having to lay people off, they need capital in order to stay afloat,” said Johanna Nelson, a strategic program development coordinator for the New Mexico Economic Development Department.

Nelson is in part overseeing the state’s new “COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program.” The program will guarantee up to $50,000 or 80% of the principal of a loan made by a bank or other lender to a small business.

According to the NMED, that money can be used as “working capital” to help pay bills, payroll, inventory or other business expenses.

Ideally, the state says the program should make it easier for small or mid-sized businesses to get the loans because the state is backing those loan payments.

New Mexico Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keyes says the state has up to four-million dollars to spend on the COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program. As of Tuesday, the state said just three businesses had applied to the loan guarantee program but the state is expecting a flood of applications soon.

“We’re seeing a lot of service providers, restaurants, hair cutters, salons, that type of thing, landscape companies, hotels that are really, really going to be effect by this,” Keyes said.

The state’s Economic Development Department says it can make a decision on those loan guarantees in about 24 hours. Businesses can only apply for the program through a financial lender like a bank, credit union or other institution.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department is placing all information about business loans programs on its website.

The Federal Government also approved New Mexico’s disaster declaration Tuesday, opening the process for small businesses to apply for up to a $2-million low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.