Businesses that didn’t receive money from the federal Paycheck Protection Program the last time around are first in line to get money through a revived program starting this week.
But that doesn’t mean small businesses that did get some money from the program last year won’t be able to do so again, according to the Small Business Administration, which again is overseeing the federal program.
At the same time, applications for a smaller state business relief program are to be accepted starting later this week.
“The Paycheck Protection Program has successfully provided 5.1 million loans worth $525 billion to America’s small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Monday. “This updated guidance enhances the PPP’s targeted relief to small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to implementing this round of PPP quickly to continue supporting American small business and their workers.”
To qualify for the forgivable loans, businesses have to keep workers on their payrolls. While the program is intended to help them keep their workers off unemployment insurance rolls, some of the money can be used for operational costs.
The program expands those exceptions to include more than just paying rent or mortgages, but also costs for property damage, suppliers and worker protection programs.
The first businesses that can apply started on Monday. Called First Draw, they include small businesses with 500 or fewer workers that did not get money under the last program.
On Wednesday, certain employers who did get some of the forgivable loans last time can apply, and can do so through eligible lenders.
Timberline Bank in Grand Junction, which filed about 1,000 of PPP applications during the first go-around that brought in about $120 million to Western Slope businesses, is one of those lenders.
Bank officials there said the new program has more flexibility for seasonal employees and businesses that may not have qualified the first time. They said that by mid-week, the “Second Draw” of the program will open up to small businesses that did receive loans last year, as well as businesses that may have seen a 25% reduction in gross receipts due to the economic downturn because of the pandemic.
At the same time this program is starting, the state’s Small Business Relief Program is kicking into gear.
That funded program, which only has about $57 million, will go to very small businesses, primarily those hardest hit by the pandemic, including restaurants, bars, distilleries, wineries, caterers, movie theaters, fitness centers and other recreational facilities, but only those with annual revenues of less that $2.5 million.
Businesses also must be headquartered in the state, have a store or outlet in the county they are applying, and must be in compliance with all COVID-19 public health orders.
That program, approved by the Colorado Legislature during its special session last month, provides up to $7,000 in direct aid, grants and annual fee waivers, such as liquor and health inspection licenses.
The grant amounts will vary depending on the revenues of a qualifying business, and how much money Mesa County is allotted.
“Any business inside Mesa County, whether it’s in an incorporated area or an unincorporated area, will be eligible that meet the criteria,” County Administrator Pete Baier told county commissioners on Monday. “The process of signing up and moving it forward will take us through to Feb. 4, and on Feb. 12 funds will be distributed. This is really for our small, local businesses.”
To apply for state aid, the county is to create a special website to file applications. That website isn’t yet available, but when it is the county will begin taking applications starting on Thursday.
Baier said applicants have 21 days to apply, adding that it isn’t on a first-come-first serve.
It’s based on how many businesses qualify, and how much money is allotted to the county, he said.