In the recent days, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers in order to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding for the program was approved by Congress in December, but eligibility is different from the first round of PPP loans made available beginning last spring.

Kelly Martin, community development director of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, said businesses that have experienced at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts are eligible to apply for the extra assistance through local lenders participating in the program.

This round of PPP loans will be conducted through first-draw and second-draw applications.

First-draw PPP loans are for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before Aug. 8, 2020. The first round of the PPP, which was available from March to August last year, was successful in assisting 5.2 million small businesses to keep 51 million Americans employed.

Second-draw PPP loans are available for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less, which previously received first-draw PPP loans and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses. Businesses must demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum amount for a second-draw PPP loan was set at $2 million.

First-draw PPP loans began Jan. 11 through community financial institutions, and second-draw PPP loans began Jan. 13. The portal fully reopened Jan. 19 to all participating PPP lenders to submit first- and second-draw loan applications to the SBA.

Paul McCreary, president of Amory’s Cadence Bank branch, said information is being gathered from the SBA to facilitate online applications for interested business owners through the its website. Updated PPP lender forms, guidance and resources are available at and

He refers applicants to use the online portal before submitting paperwork to lenders.

The SBA’s approach is to reach smaller lenders, including community banks, credit unions and farm credit institutions through this round of PPPs.

According to information from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, another change with this round of PPP loans is who qualifies for employee retention tax credit. When the CARES Act passed last spring, this type of tax credits were an option, but companies could only take advantage of either a PPP loan or the employee retention tax credit.

Through this round of financial relief, Congress approved for businesses to take advantage of both options. According to an SBA press release, employers that meet the eligibility can receive a tax credit for as much as $14,000 per employee in the first and second quarter of this year.

The SBA press release stated several businesses may qualify for smaller credits that were offered in 2020, which are worth a maximum of $5,000 per employee, in addition to the new employee retention tax credits. It recommends for companies to discuss eligibility with their tax preparers.

In addition to the PPP loan program and employee retention tax credit, the SBA offers other coronavirus assistance programs such as COVID-19 economic injury disaster loans for small businesses and nonprofits facing lack of revenue. This program and others are detailed at

The SBA also recently launched its Ascent Online Digital Learning Platform for female-owned small businesses. The free program educates female entrepreneurs on how to expand their businesses, and registration is available at

Resources include tips on recovering from disasters, business strategies and marketing techniques.

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