ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As businesses are struggling to stay open with COVID-19 restrictions, an opportunity for some relief arrived this week. It’s the Paycheck Protection Program – part of the federal stimulus package – allowing businesses to apply for loans that help with rent, utilities, and more.
Jan Pisanczyn, with Small Business Development Center at Suny Brockport, has been working with local businesses to apply for both rounds of PPP funding. He says this time around feels a lot more simplified, and a lot of the kinks from this spring have been worked out.
“The problem initially was a lot of bigger entities took advantage of the situation, understandably so if the rules allowed them to do it they should be able to, but the little guys overwhelmed with the process,” he said.
He says the smaller businesses had more trouble finding lenders that were willing to entertain the loan programs. Since then, it’s evolved. This time, the initial draw is prioritizing those grassroots, smaller inner-city, minority businesses in low-income areas. These businesses can apply through Community Development Finance Institution. The SBA set aside about $15 billion dollars for these smaller businesses, with 10 or fewer employees.
Some new coverage includes operational expenses and property damage costs from riots and looting. “As far as forgiveness, you need to take a look at how much your loan was done through payroll, if at least 60% of loan money you received through PPP went to payroll, then you will get that portion forgiven,” he said.
“Now its real simple one page application,” said Pisanczyn
Highland Park Diner in Rochester has been closed for weeks due to being in an orange zone. Owner Van Zissis says he plans to apply for PPP, he has no choice. But it isn’t going to fix everything.
“It’ll be a nice, cushion, but, we also are sitting on debt from two months of being closed, and to-go’s aren’t cutting it … This money is going to get paid back somehow, insurance is going to go up, cost of doing business is going up,” said Zissis. He explained how a $16 box of latex gloves is now $200.
To apply for the new round of PPP you have until March 31st of this year – Pisanczyn says get in and get early while you can.
To qualify, a business must have no more than three-hundred employees, demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in gross sales between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020, and have previously applied for, used up/or will use up the first round of PPP.