Paycheck Protection Program 2.0 opens Monday with new guidelines, frustrations

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DENVER — On Monday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened its lending plan, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to help companies stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan for the second round is to target small businesses disadvantaged by the first round released in the spring of 2020.

Companies have been divided into two groups and placed into the first draw or the second draw for loan eligibility. Starting Jan. 11, the SBA said it will only accept loan application from community financial institutions in order to promote small business lending.

The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.

There have also been changes to how the money can be used. Previously, PPP loans were only available for use in staff retention, including maintaining and hiring back employees laid off because of the pandemic.

This time the money can be used for a broader range of business expenses, including operations, repairs and business supplies. Also, the loan can cover up to 24 weeks of operations instead of just eight weeks, the limit for the last loan.

“These funds will help not only with my salary employees full time… But also the maintenance and keep up with the facilities,” Estefania Dries said. “It will be a very much smoother ride with the money for all these things.”

Dries started applying for the loan early Monday morning for her business, the Colorado Catering Company. However, after a day of trying, she was unable to access the portal through her bank, bringing up similar frustrations that the PPP loan process manifested the first time.

“You would think that there would be a little more setup for this time around, but it doesn’t seem like it,” Dries said. “My fear is that one morning I wake up and the funds are not there anymore, or what if I don’t get my application?”

She said she will keep trying until her application goes through.

“I will be attached to my computer, just checking,” Dries said. “Because I don’t take no for an answer.”