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More money for businesses in new COVID-19 relief bill

The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, as the House and Senate return to work. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

SALT LAKE CITY – The US Congress has set aside an additional $284.45 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program in the latest COVID-19 relief bill. That means Utah businesses could apply for a second loan. 

To qualify, businesses would have to show a 25% reduction in gross receipts from the same quarter last year. They would also have to have 300 employees or fewer. 

Utah Bankers’ Association President Howard Headlee tells KSL-TV that the PPP program will be opened to industries that were shut out of the last COVID-19 relief bill. 

“It’s going to help a lot of businesses,” Headlee says. “Especially those that have been really impacted like restaurants and entertainment and tourism-related businesses.” 

He also thinks it will be easier for companies to get a loan than last time. 

“We’ve got billions of dollars out there that are waiting to be forgiven,” Headlee says. “We had lots of problems with the [PPP] program that this bill resolves.”

Headlee says businesses can apply for a second loan even if they have not paid back the first one. However, he expects all these loans to be forgiven. 

“It’s going to make [it] a lot easier for businesses…to recover once this pandemic is over,” Headlee says.

There are some updated rules on how those PPP loans can be used. 

At least 60% of the money must be used for payroll expenses for a loan to be fully forgiven. But the remaining 40% or less may be used to cover even more business expenses than before, like personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 expenses, as well as certain property damage and supplier costs.

Money has also been set aside for community development financial institutions, which help minority-owned businesses.