Orlando small business owners eager for more COVID-19 financial assistance

PPP loans to be offered again

ORLANDO, Fla. – A day after the new round of COVID-19 relief funding was signed by President Donald Trump, small business owners in Central Florida are getting ready to start the process of applying for help.

Brigette Rierson, the owner of Bijou’s Boutique in Orlando’s College Park, said she hopes it’s not as complicated as the first time she applied.

“It was very difficult. A lot of paperwork was needed,” Rierson recalled. “It took quite a few weeks before we got anything so I was closed March and April, kept on paying my people all along with no income.”

Among the provisions of the new $900 billion coronavirus relief and stimulus package is an extension of last spring’s Paycheck Protection Program, allowing another $284 billion or so in forgivable, federally backed loans for ailing small businesses.

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Applicants have between eight and 24 weeks to use the funds, with at least 60% going toward payroll and the rest toward eligible expenses such as rent and utilities.

“For the most part, we do qualify we just have to match the numbers up and check the quarters and the loss. I think there’s a 25% cap that you have to show you’ve lost in revenue,” said Paul Hugget, the owner of New Moon Market in Orlando.

Despite the good news, Hugget said he is being cautious because he’s still not sure about the process and how long it will take for that money to come through.

“It was a bit of relief but I’m someone -- I’m just not gonna rely on that. I’m just trying (to) keep going and then I don’t get disappointed if it doesn’t turn out like what I hoped it would,” Hugget said.

The new PPP loans are capped at $2 million dollars, applicants must have no more than 300 employees and must demonstrate at least a 25% drop in revenues from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the same period this year.

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