Congress on Sunday agreed to a new coronavirus relief package, and this one is more favorable to small businesses than the last one.
The agreement, yet to be signed by President Trump as of Tuesday morning, will make hundreds of billions of dollars available to struggling small businesses to help them get through the pandemic.
According to a streamlined version of the bill made available by members of the House’s Small Business Committee and a news release from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s team, a primary boost will come within the Paycheck Protection Program, which will see $284 billion of the bill’s $900 billion price tag, and has looser restrictions on how the businesses must apply the money.
Small business owners will find the list of “qualifying expenses” has expanded. They now may apply the funding under covered property damage toward the costs associated with COVID-19 protection, including retrofitting a company’s HVAC system, as well as personal protective equipment and some operating expenses.
Small businesses must have 300 or fewer employees (it was 500 under the first stimulus bill) to qualify for what the language refers to as “a second draw PPP loan.” Those business owners also are required to have already used their original PPP money or are planning to do so.
“We are going to crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people,” Pelosi said in her statement.
Additionally, publicly traded companies are excluded from seeking PPP funds, a major sticking point the first time around.
Though the relief package took far longer than most hoped and expected, it’s better now than never.
Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce chief policy officer, said, “At a moment in which their viability was in question, this could be the lifeline that keeps those small businesses open.”