Time is nearly up for South Dakota small businesses to find help as coronavirus cases spike nationally and state numbers continue to waver.
The deadline is Tuesday for the stimulus program approved back in early April by federal officials. The Paycheck Protection Program has continued to evolve with injections of additional funding and a relaxing of some of the initial rules.
As of Friday, there was plenty of money left in the pot and South Dakota had already claimed about $1.7 billion in the 100 percent forgiveable loans intended to help small firms, contractors and solo operators survive the financial devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and resulting states of emergency.
All of it is set to go away next week, with no clear sign from federal officials that the deadline for approval of new PPP loans will be extended, said Jaime Wood, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Dakota office.
“That’s what we know right now, even though there’s a lot of discussion up above at the (Washington) DC level, talking about a potential Phase Four,” Wood said.
Combined, $128.4 billion remains to be distributed to small businesses across the country.
Business owners that still might need financial help for paying employees and covering utilities during the pandemic should apply by Monday, because June 30 is the deadline for approving the PPP loans. After being approved, businesses will receive eight-weeks worth of funding but now have the ability to spend it during the course of 24 weeks, due to added flexibility from federal authorities, Wood said.
There are additional measures intended to help small businesses avoid extra financial burden, including a six-month window of payment deferral while operators go through the forgiveness process with their bank.
If a business owner used the money on an expense not meant to be covered by the PPP, like say, buying a car, they have the option to request a five-year loan at 1 percent interest. However, that’s not what the money is intended for, and businesses should use the funding for paying their staff and covering basic costs, Wood said.
“People shouldn’t wait, they should get in there,” Wood said.
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