COVID-19

Small business owners eye a second Paycheck Protection Program loan

Justin Ho Dec 23, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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A restaurant employee moves between tables outside of a restaurant in Manhattan on Dec. 11 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
COVID-19

Small business owners eye a second Paycheck Protection Program loan

Justin Ho Dec 23, 2020
A restaurant employee moves between tables outside of a restaurant in Manhattan on Dec. 11 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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It’s a good bet that business owners of all stripes are eyeing the new Paycheck Protection Program money in Congress’ relief bill. But those same business owners haven’t forgotten that the first round of PPP money didn’t roll out so smoothly. 

We checked in with some small business owners to talk about the pros and cons of applying for a PPP loan all over again.

The new Paycheck Protection Program that Congress is proposing would allow restaurants and hospitality businesses to take out bigger loans.

Mark Frier owns three restaurants in Vermont and said he’d like to spend more on supporting his staff during the difficult, colder months.

“We’re running in a deficit right now, just even trying to remain open and keep our employees on payroll,” he said.

Congress’ proposal would also make it easier for smaller loan borrowers to apply for forgiveness.

Sophie Blake owns a jewelry store in Virginia. She said it was a struggle to apply for her $14,000 PPP loan.

“There were about 20 to 30 pieces of documentation I had to submit,” she said. “I’m still waiting to hear back whether I’m going to get forgiven or not.”

Blake said her jewelry sales have been slow this holiday season, which is usually one of her busiest times. And next year, her rent is going up.

She said if her PPP loan isn’t forgiven, she probably won’t apply for another one.

“I don’t think I want to take on any more debt. You know, I already feel anxious with the debt that we have,” Blake said.

Some PPP recipients aren’t sure they need this second go-around. Jackie Laundon is a public health consultant based in Colorado.

“After the disastrous quarter two in the spring, I’m in a better position at the end of the year,” she said. “And so, I’m not sure. To be honest right now, I’m leaning toward no.”

Laundon said she’d like to think that by holding back, business owners who need a loan more than she does will have a better chance.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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