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    Less than three months ago the CARES Act approved $349 billion for the new Paycheck Protection Program. This U.S. Small Business Administration program continues to empower small businesses in Utah to stay viable by keeping their employees paid and working, giving the businesses, communities and the economy a chance to bounce back as quickly as possible.

    In less than two weeks, the SBA approved more than 1.6 million PPP loans, exhausting the first round of funds appropriated by Congress, and requiring the appropriation of additional funding. In Utah, as of June 12, the SBA has approved 48,861 loans valued at almost $5.2 billion.

    The SBA continues to improve the program’s accessibility to small businesses. Businesses can now use the loans from 8 weeks to 24 weeks, a move that provides more flexibility for businesses to qualify for loan forgiveness. Employers are now required to spend only 60 percent of the loan on payroll costs, freeing up more funds to be used for debt obligations, including interest on a mortgage, rent payments or utility payments.

    Also, the rehiring window was extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, and the time frame for small businesses to apply for forgiveness was extended. It is hoped these changes provide some peace of mind and flexibility that enable small business owners to continue serving their communities.

    The PPP offered a lifeline to small businesses, helped them pay their employees, and enabled them to keep their lights on. I would like to thank the lenders, credit unions, Community Financial Depository Institutions and rural community banks that partnered with the SBA and the small business community of Utah. Together we have delivered vital assistance during a pivotal time to build a new foundation for recovery, economic success and job growth.

    Small businesses can still apply for a PPP loan through June 30. To learn more about the PPP and resources available for small businesses, visit www.sba.gov/ppp.

    The following are the links for the newly revised PPP EZ Forms for Loan Forgiveness: Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form; Loan Forgiveness Application Instructions for Borrowers; Loan Forgiveness Application for EZ; and Loan Forgiveness Application Instructions for Borrowers using EZ. To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19.

    SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low-interest assistance for small businesses or nonprofit organizations. These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue.

    EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

    Trollan is the SBA’s Utah District director.

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