On Tuesday, the US Senate approved an additional coronavirus relief package of $484 billion, which provides over $310 billion more in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The program, designed to provide small businesses with forgivable loans to keep workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis, ran out of money on April 16.
The Paycheck Protection Program is helping to keep businesses afloat while the economy is nearly shut down during the pandemic. Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees can apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) welcomed the new relief package, saying that it is vital to keeping retailers in business.
“Retailers continue to deal with catastrophic hardships from COVID-19 and small retailers are the hardest hit,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of NRF. “The CARES Act was an important first step but funding for the Paycheck Protection Program has already been exhausted and additional relief is essential to keeping employees of small retailers on the payroll and contributing to the economy until we can get through this challenge. This assistance is too important to be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to those who were the quickest to file their applications. This measure will ensure that those who need assistance the most will receive it.”
The US House of Representatives is expected to take up and pass the legislation on Thursday with overwhelming bipartisan support, followed shortly by the legislation being signed into law by the President.