By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
From Feb. 24 to March 9, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds are being held for small businesses with less than 20 employees. In addition, sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed workers are also being encouraged to apply.
There are guidelines for first-time draws (did not apply in 2020) and second-time draws — applying again after having already spent the formerly allocated funds. PPP funds must be used to maintain employee and compensation levels and other qualified expenses such as rent, mortgage and utilities. These loan funds, if used for these special purposes, can be forgiven in full. If you are a self-employed person, do not count yourself out on applying for these funds.
While not officially released, the Shuttered Venue Operators grant will be coming online soon. This is an important grant for our local live performance centers and organizations. Included in this designation are businesses that also have live entertainment, live performance arts organization operators including nonprofits, museums and other performance operators.
The applicant cannot have applied for PPP funds on or after Dec. 27, 2020. There can be some significant assistance through this program. The money will be given out based on need: those entities that had a 90 percent or greater loss, then entities that had a 70 percent or greater loss, and then those suffering a 25 percent or greater loss. Grants can be issued for amounts equal to 45 percent of 2019 gross earned revenue. If you were not in business the full year of 2019, you can use the average monthly gross earned revenue for each full month you were in operation multiplied by six. The usage of these funds is also much more diverse. There is more work to be done with this program, so interested parties should start getting their paperwork and filing the appropriate documentation now.
Visit the Small Business Administration site at www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options for information on both of these programs. Take a little time, ask for assistance if you need guidance, and don’t leave money on the table.