ARIZONA — Congress has continued the Paycheck Protection Plan offered through the Small Business Administration.

The PPP loans were first created by the CARES Act and closed last August. Now they have been revived in a way that is meant to bring more relief to small businesses.

The program has been extended to March 31.

This economic aid is specifically meant to help hard-hit small businesses, non profits and venues that have suffered losses due to the pandemic.

The government has authorized more funding by re-designating Section 1106 of the CARES Act. The new authorization level for PPP is $806.5 billion with specific amounts earmarked for initial and second draws on the loans. It also sets aside $35 billion of the $806.5 billion for first-time borrowers and offers tiers for businesses based on their number of employees.

Even if a business has already applied for a PPP loan, they can now apply for a “PPP Second draw” loan with a maximum amount of $2 million, depending on their eligibility.

The application process has also been simplified for loans under $150,000. There are rules, guidelines and limitations on eligibility but this extension may rescue businesses that have been hanging on by a thread.

Borrowers whose loan calculations have increased can also work with their lender to modify their loan value regardless of whether the loan has been fully disbursed. This is one of many adjustments implemented to help small businesses nationwide.

In some instances, borrowers with qualifying loans approved by the SBA prior to the CARES Act may receive additional help through the debt relief program(s) on small business loans guaranteed by the SBA under the CARES Act.

There are other favorable modifications to SBA loan programs, micro-loan programs and even Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance for small business “continuity, adaption and resiliency.” There are some emergency EIDL grants that extend the covered period through Dec. 31.

Seasonal businesses may find additional benefits as well. The “seasonal period” has been expanded to “any 12-weeks between Feb. 15, 2019, and Feb. 15, 2021. This expansion applies to loans before, on or after the date of enactment except for loans where the borrower has already received forgiveness.

The interest rate on PPP loans has also been clarified; they are non-compounding and non-adjustable for all new initial Paycheck Protection Program loans and second draw loans. Some EIDL borrowers can even apply for a PPP loan to supplement what they have already received.

The bottom line is this: If you haven’t applied, or even if you have already applied, you’ve got nothing to lose by seeking additional assistance from these programs.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The local, Small Business Development Center which is hosted by Northland Pioneer College is readily available to help existing or developing small businesses.

The SBDC provides resources, free of charge, that enable emerging entrepreneurs and existing small businesses to innovate and adapt to changing conditions such as the coronavirus.

They are well versed in these programs and can assist business owners with their PPP applications. Visit their website at or call 928-532-6170.

Help for restaurants

Last week Gov. Doug Ducey announced an additional $2 million to further help local restaurants and other dining establishments expand outdoor dining, protect patrons and staff, and limit the spread of COVID-19. In addition to more funding for restaurants, Ducey last month issued an Executive Order easing red tape on outdoor dining, helping restaurants expand seating outdoors on a temporary basis.

The funding will support the Safest Outside Restaurant Assistance Program, launched last month by the Governor. The program funds up to $10,000 per restaurant for items they need to extend their outdoor dining premise, including outdoor furniture, barriers, patio heaters, patio covers, etc.

According to the press release, 265 Arizona restaurants have applied to the program and 114 have received funding totaling $1 million.

Eligible applicants must plan to extend the restaurant premises for a minimum of three months, employ fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees, and operate in compliance with COVID-19-related executive orders. Additional requirements are listed on the application website at

Reach the reporter at

Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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