Program assists businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Paycheck Protection Program has been providing small businesses with funding options due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

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It kicked off on April 3rd, but recently the program ran out of its nearly $350 billion funding.

“If they use that money to keep their employees on the payroll, to pay rent, mortgage interest, utilities, that money will not have to be repaid. Again, that’s about keeping valuable employees on the pay roll,” said Congressman David Kustoff.

Kustoff says Congress is working at getting extra funding soon to go towards the program.

“The amount is being negotiated right now. It’s between $250 billion and roughly $300 billion,” Kustoff said.

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Small businesses with 500 employees or less are eligible for this assistance, including non-profits, self-employed individuals or independent contractors

So far, hundreds of small businesses have received help, according to Monique Merriweather of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.

“We’ve assisted over 200 small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program and also with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan,” Merriweather said.

She says during these trying times, small businesses have had to adapt.

“I think it has also forced us into creativity, into innovation, where we kind of have to think outside of the box on ways that we can navigate and do things different,” Merriweather said.

Although non-essential businesses have been closed for the past month, Gov. Bill Lee says some will be able to open within the next couple of weeks.

“So we’ll see what works, what doesn’t work. Hopefully the economy can in fact be restarted soon in Tennessee and in West Tennessee,” Kustoff said.

For small businesses that are approved, the program will pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs and benefits.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News