With still over $120 Billion in PPP funds, some small business owners are reluctant to apply

Rep. Ben McAdams encourages businesses to apply
Posted at 1:28 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 12:19:55-04

MILLCREEK, Utah — The number of small businesses in Utah applying for the second round of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is slowing down.

Nailed! Salon in Millcreek opened its doors last week thanks to a PPP loan.

Owner Tricia Bennion says it’s a lifeline every business should take advantage of.

Customers are slowly coming back to Nailed! after it shut down for nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bennion had hoped the first round of PPP loans would help keep her two salons open.

"I didn’t receive the funding," she said. "It was literally devastating to hear that I didn’t because small business owners were told this money is there for you and you were given the impression that it was here and it’s going to be handed to you."

Then she got some good news.

Bennion received money from the second round of PPP and could afford to bring back her employees.

"Of the 52 employees that I have, 10 of them were unable to get unemployment due to various reasons with maybe them having had a baby or having had to quit other jobs in order to come work for spring season," Bennion said.

While Bennion sees the value in PPP, some business owners are reluctant.

"We need you to put a paycheck in the pocket of your employees," Rep Ben McAdams, (D) Utah said.

McAdams says banks are continuing to receive new applications, but the numbers are slowing down.

"As of May 10 there were still $120 billion left in the fund," he said.

The second round of funding lasting this long is concerning, considering the first allotment of $350 billion was gone in 13 days.

But with new rules in place, owners worry they may take on more debt, in order for their loan to be forgiven.

They would be required to spend 75-percent on payroll in an 8-week period.

"The only thing I would say to you is you don’t have to use the money," Bennion said. "You can turn it back but if you need the money there’s a form that you can go through but it literally can be a lifeline to save your business."

McAdams says he and others in Congress are open to expanding that deadline if it means more businesses will apply.

"If you are a small business and these are funds you need to keep your doors open please apply for it," McAdams said. "There’s no shame in applying."

McAdams said the likelihood of a third round of PPP funding can’t be fully assessed right now because there is still unused money with the second round.

Click here for a list of Utah banks authorized to assist small businesses with PPP.