President Biden signed an extension for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created last year to help small businesses weather the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
“People are feeling more comfortable [and] I’m definitely getting more sales [but] now I’m desperately looking for staff,” said small business owner of food truck The Caribe Vegan, Melissa Guzman.
We interviewed Guzman in January, when sales were down.
“Before no one was coming and I had the staff, now everyone is coming and I don’t have the staff,” she said.
Back in January, Guzman wasn’t eligible for the first round of PPP loans. She was struggling to make ends meet. Now that business is booming, Guzman is thinking about applying before the May 31st deadline to pay for staff, if she can find any.
“I’m doing everything by myself and I’m exhausted. I’m the cashier, I’m the person that preps, I actually work in the truck, [and] I drive the truck now. I’m a one-man circus,” she added.
Victoria Guerrero with the Small Business Administration says the PPP loan extension simply just gives businesses more time to apply. The sooner you apply, the higher the chance you’ll receive funding.
“Now one thing I do want to urge folks is to apply if they haven’t because funding will be running out soon. So don’t wait until the very end to apply. If you haven’t apply, I urge them to apply right away,” said Guerrero.
Since the program opened back up in mid-January, roughly $16 billion in PPP loans have been handed out in Florida.
Guerrero says business owners don’t need to wait for their first PPP loan to be forgiven to apply for the second time.
“If those funds have been exhausted or they will be exhausted, you can go ahead and apply for the second draw,” she said.
Meanwhile, Guzman says she’s going to look into applying, so she can hire the staff she needs to stay afloat.
“Right now my biggest hurdle is staff. I would use it towards staff to bump up the pay to make it more of an incentive to get people in the door,” said Guzman.
Keep in mind you must apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period.
You can find more information on how to apply here.