NORFOLK, Va. - Small businesses and organizations that are struggling due to the pandemic now have more time to apply for support.
President Joe Biden signed a bill Tuesday extending the Paycheck Protection Program, which was originally set to end March 31.
The extension gives businesses until May 31 to apply for funds and an additional 30 days after that for the Small Business Administration to process pending applications.
According to Alison Holt-Fuller with Atlantic Union Bank, there were also some changes made recently that expand who is eligible. 501(c) organizations except for 501(c)(4) are now eligible, businesses can apply for both a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and sole proprietors can use gross income instead of net income to calculate their loan.
"We already had a lot of sole proprietors that were in our pipeline working on their applications, and when the schedule C changes came out and the ability to use gross income, we got a lot of calls from those folks asking if they could withdraw their applications so they could reapply," Holt-Fuller said.
Although they're called loans, the money is essentially a grant that does not need to be paid back if businesses use the funds for eligible expenses, mostly payroll.
John Asbury, Atlantic Union Bank CEO, says there are still a lot of businesses and organizations reaching out to apply.
Since the second round of PPP opened in January, Atlantic Union Bank has received more than 6,000 applications for about $590 million and have already received SBA funding for about 5,000 of those.
"The demand is clearly there," Asbury said.
Asbury says there appears to be adequate funding available, but since there's no way to be certain what the demand will be, businesses should apply as soon as possible.
"From our standpoint, we can't think of a single reason why any business who's eligible would not apply for this," Asbury said. "It's intended to support the business, to support payroll. So, if you're eligible, we highly encourage you to take advantage of the program."