The U.S. Senate last night followed the House's lead, approving sweeping changes to the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program that are expected to improve lending terms for certain sectors - including the restaurant industry, which has suffered greatly due to the pandemic.
Among the changes that will be enacted if the president signs the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act into law is an extension of the eight-week period during which loan recipients can spend PPP cash to 24 weeks, or until Dec. 31.
Many in the restaurant and hospitality industries had pushed hard for this, saying that the COVID-19 crisis caused them to remain closed for longer than expected when the PPP program was originally conceived in March as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, and eight weeks is not enough time.
In addition, the limits on loan forgiveness for small businesses that couldn't rehire employees, hire new employees or return to pre-pandemic activity will be lifted, as will the 25 percent cap on the use of PPP funds for non-payroll expenses (like rent) to 40 percent of the loan total.
This effort passed with bipartisan support.
The White House has not yet said whether the president plans to sign this bill, but he has expressed general support for its goals.
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