Governor Janet Mills is encouraging Maine small business owners to consider applying for assistance with payroll, rent, and other operational expenses through the new federal Paycheck Protection Program. The program, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is a loan program designed by Congress to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The SBA will forgive loans through the program for eligible small businesses if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. More information about the program can be found here.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy, and there is no question that they – and their hardworking employees – are facing significant hardship as a result of COVID-19,” said Governor Mills. “The Paycheck Protection Program can deliver vital capital to small businesses and critical income to their workers. I highly encourage Maine small businesses to consider whether this program can help them and their employees during this challenging time.”
Governor Mills also applauded Maine’s banks and lending institutions for standing up the program so quickly over the weekend in order to provide immediate help to Maine small businesses and workers:
“Maine’s banks and lending institutions have done an incredible job in deploying this new program,” continued Governor Mills. “Their work in standing up this program in a week and processing applications over the weekend is a testament to their commitment to support Maine’s small businesses and hardworking Maine people.”
According to U.S. Senator Susan Collins, who co-authored the legislation creating the program, a total of 1,816 Maine employers have been approved for $510.9 million in Paycheck Protection Plan loans. Lenders began processing loan applications April 3, 2020 and the program is available through June 30, 2020.
Maine small businesses are also eligible for Economic Injury Disaster loans through the SBA. After Governor Mills’ letter certifying that Maine’s small businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, Maine was one of the first states in the country to be approved for the loans to help Maine businesses overcome any temporary loss of revenue due to the novel coronavirus. According to the SBA, the loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for small businesses and may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.