One of the key form of aid to businesses dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak begins Friday — the Payroll Protection Program.
The program is part of the Federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, and provides loans not only to businesses, but also non-profits and sole proprietors.
The PPP was announced just last week and details are still being ironed out, including where to to to get the loans.
Doug Orifice, principal at Arsenal Financial and co-founder of the Watertown Business Coalition, said that he has spent most of the last week pouring over the details of the CARES Act looking for ways it can help small businesses. The PPP may be a big help.
“This is a program which is still coming together from the language point of view, but this will be a loan that is available through local, community, commercial and regional banks that are SBA lenders,” Orifice said. “The Watertown Business Coalition is trying to collect a list of banks that are PPP lenders.”
Businesses, and other qualifying organizations, can borrow up to 2.5 months of their payroll under the PPP, Orifice said.
“Part of the loan, in fact possibly a majority may be forgivable, this may be the difference between businesses deciding to furlough employees through June or July, or trying to tough it through,” Orifice said.
Greg Reibman of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber of Commerce said he has heard from a lot of people frustrated by not having details about how the PPP works and how they can apply for the funds.
“My advice: Be patient and kind to your banker today. They’ve been handed a very incomplete and still developing process,” Reibman said in a message sent out in a Chamber email on Friday.
There are other programs available for businesses as part of the CARES Act, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which offer loans to cover losses caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. The EIDL even has emergency advances of up to $10,000.
Reibman said he has spoken with many people who want to know if they can apply for and get assistance from more that one program. He got the following response from the Massachusetts Office of Economic Development, which was in contact with the SBA:
“Whether you’ve already received an EIDL unrelated to COVID-19 or you receive a COVID19 related EIDL and/or Emergency Grant between January 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, you may also apply for a PPP loan. If you ultimately receive a PPP loan or refinance an EIDL into a PPP loan, any advance amount received under the Emergency Economic Injury Grant Program would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the PPP. However, you cannot use your EIDL for the same purpose as your PPP loan. For example, if you use your EIDL to cover payroll for certain workers in April, you cannot use PPP for payroll for those same workers in April, although you could use it for payroll in March or for different workers in April.”
The Watertown Business Coalition will assist people trying to make heads or tails of the CARES Act programs, Orifice said. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses do not have to wait to hear which banks will be handling the PPP loans to apply. They can go to the SBA’s website to learn more (https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options) or call 1-800-659-2955.
For specific programs go to:
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loan-emergency-advance
SBA Express Bridge Loans: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/sba-express-bridge-loans