Included in last month’s passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, a new round of funding for small business became available and is open for applications as of this week, which could offer some relief to small companies within the pupil transportation industry.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan that helps small businesses keep their employees on the payroll and their company afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic, has now been funded another $284 billion. In March, around $650 billion was made available to small businesses, $349 billion was funded following the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and another $310 billion was added in April.
The latest round of PPP opened on Monday morning for first-time borrowers, with applications available on Wednesday for businesses that took advantage of the first two rounds authorized by the CARES Act. The latest iteration of PPP now includes new updates to the previous loan, as borrowers can now set their loan coverage period to be any length from 8 to 24 weeks and can cover additional expenses including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs and works protection expenditures.
“The Paycheck Protection Program has successfully provided 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion to America’s small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in a press release. “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 businesses and their workers.”
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Meanwhile, second-time borrowers that employ 300 or fewer workers and are seeking to qualify for another round of funding must demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in earnings in comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
In addition, at least $40 billion has been set aside for businesses with 10 or fewer employees and for loans under $250,000 in low-income areas.