Local small businesses can apply for the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The latest edition of the Paycheck Protection Program is up and running.

The program opens first to lending institutions with less than $1 billion in assets Friday, January 15, then opens to all others on Tuesday, January 19.

Brian Kassalen manages the PPP Task Force operated by Arnett Carbis Toothman LLP. Kassalen helps small businesses and non-profits understand what they qualify for and how to get it under the program. Kassalen alerts businesses to get the process going with lenders as soon as possible.

“Nobody has a crystal ball at this point, and I read a lot that says they don’t anticipate running out of money this time, but nobody knows that” Kassalen said,” They ran out of money the first time pretty quickly.”

Now the program has extended eligibility to housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, trade associations and will focus on entities that did not receive money during the first edition back in the spring.

The district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration in West Virginia, Karen Friel says the program has also expanded to help cover additional costs.

“They’ve added the business operations expenditures, supplier costs, property damage costs, worker protection expenditures, adding to the drive-throughs, ventilation, sneeze guards,” Friel said,” Anything businesses had to put or was required to stay open.”

To qualify businesses must have 300 employees or less and be able to document 25 percent or more in losses between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 30 million small businesses in the country and pre-pandemic they created 64 percent of new jobs. Experts contend the resurgence of small businesses will drive the economic recovery.

“These are the people that need the money,” Kassalen said,” They need to start paying people, they need to be able to keep their doors open for as many months as it takes to get the pandemic behind us.”

This round of the program includes enhanced benefits for the hard hit restaurant and lodging industry. Data from the Brookings Institute says by May of 2020 more than 52 percent of businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector were closed temporarily or releasing large numbers of staff.

“Accommodation and food service industry, they made it even better,” Friel said,” They are able to receive three-and-a-half times of monthly payroll costs versus the set two-and-a-half times for all other businesses.”

Another class of businesses added to the eligibility list are trade associations of all types.

“A lot of these associations rely on members of the community and businesses owners to fund dues and programs,” Kassalen said,” Certainly if those businesses have been impacted these trade associations have felt a reduction in revenue or have had to lay people off.”

Registration is open for a SBA Paycheck Protection Program training session on Tuesday, January 19 at noon.