Relief will soon come for the 56,000-plus Connecticut business owners who have taken advantage of the federal Paycheck Protection Program designed to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
Penny Lane Pub co-owner Alex Foulkes said he is back up and running after a long shutdown thanks to the novel coronavirus, but it's far from full speed with numerous social distancing measures in place.
“We have a good size patio out there, we’re very weather dependent. So if it’s nice day we’re doing good. If it’s a rainout…everybody stays home.”
Foulkes and thousands of restaurant owners got their burdens lightened a bit when Congress and President Donald Trump approved reforms that make it easier to have their Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven.
Currently, business owners have to spend 75% of the loan toward payroll to have it forgiven. They also had to spend it within eight weeks, which was not so easy when everything was still mostly shut down.
The reforms now require businesses like Foulkes’ to put just 60% of the PPP loan toward payroll to have it forgiven, and they can use it over 24 weeks.
“Makes it easier for us to go about and try to build from here and we don’t have to worry about the burden of trying to get forgiven,” Foulkes said.
State Rep. Tom Delnicki (R- South Windsor) has been a ranking member of the state legislature’s banking committee.
He said another PPP reform will make it easier for the loans to be forgiven if businesses can prove reopening restrictions and problems getting employees to return to work impacted their bottom line.
“You could get forgivance for not making the numbers based on situations that are above and beyond your control,” Delnicki explained.
Delnicki cautioned there are not any specifics yet on how this part of the PPP reforms will work. The U.S. Small Business Administration, which is overseeing the PPP program, is expected to issue some guidance on that soon.