JOHNSON CITY, Tenn — New help for small businesses and non-profits could be coming as soon as next week as a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans become available.
Businesses receiving PPP Loans can have some or all of it forgiven so long as those businesses can prove they used the money to maintain their payroll.
Businesses that did not receive PPP Loans in the first round have priority in the second round. Second-time applicants that meet the criteria will also be eligible.
Dick Nelson owns two small businesses in downtown Johnson City: a fine art store and a coffee shop. They are among nearly five million that survived through the CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Program.
"Without the PPP, we don't have the reserves to continue more than a few months," Nelson said.
Now Congress is starting the program up again with another $284 billion. Businesses can use the new money for a wider variety of expenses.
"It can include HR and accounting, any property damage that occurred in 2020, as well as PPE can be used for it," Tennessee Bankers Association president Colin Barrett said.
Businesses that got a loan last time can sign up again, but fewer businesses will qualify.
They can have no more than 300 employees, and businesses must show at least a 25 percent revenue drop in a quarter compared to 2019.
"Do you qualify for that, and do you intend to apply for it again?" News 5’s Caleb Perhne asked.
"Oh, yeah," Nelson interrupted with a laugh. "We're basically just limping along under 50 percent."
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Nelson hard, forcing him to close for three months.
His coffee shop is back open but with only street-side service. Still, he's optimistic about the future.
"It's going to be better," Nelson said. "Tomorrow is always going to be better than today."
The new loans expand access to 501c6 nonprofits, and Congress reversed an IRS ruling that would have cost businesses more in taxes for taking the help.