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Congress made PPP more flexible, but businesses say it's not enough

January 13, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 50.4%. 2 min read.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 09: People walk by a closed restaurant in Brooklyn on December 09, 2020 in New York City. New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, is threatening to close indoor dining as soon as this Monday if hospitalization rates continue to increase in New York City. Currently, there are over 4,800 COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized statewide, which is double the amount reported on November 18 and the highest number of hospitalizations since May 22. Restaurants in New York City, one of the most important business sectors, are already closing at alarming rates due to various health restrictions, a lack of tourism and the disappearance of business clients. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Congress has made the Paycheck Protection Program more flexible and given priority to the smallest, hardest-hit businesses, but the long-awaited second round of loans will still serve as little more than a stopgap as the pandemic rages on.

Washington (CNN)Congress has made the Paycheck Protection Program more flexible and given priority to the smallest, hardest-hit businesses, but the long-awaited second round of loans will still serve as little more than a stopgap as the pandemic rages on.

Retail businesses like Georgie Lou's Retro Candy store in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, will likely receive the same amount of money they did in the spring -- which lasted Georgie Lou's only a few months, leaving owner Stephanie Patterson Gilbert to piece things together on her own ever since.

"It's helpful, but none of this is going to save a business at the end of the day," said Gilbert.

"The only thing that's going to save small businesses is getting past Covid," Gilbert added.

Lawmakers designed the Paycheck Protection Program to help small business owners stay afloat while some states and cities imposed shutdown restrictions to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Small business owners waited another five months before lawmakers passed legislation that reopened the program.

In Carlisle, a merchant group is raising money to buy gift cards from borough businesses, which are in turn donated to front-line workers or local charities.

Restaurants and lodging businesses may now apply for bigger loans, equal to 3. 5 times monthly payrolls.

Since the summer, revenue for small businesses has continued to fall.

It's currently down 32% compared with a year ago, and the number of small businesses open and operating is down nearly 30%, according to Opportunity Insights, a project at Harvard University tracking the recovery.

During the first few days, only community financial institutions, which mostly work with very small and often minority-owned businesses, will be able to make loans.

Other lenders will likely have to wait until next week, in an attempt to give mom-and-pop shops a leg up they didn't receive last time, when the system was overrun by large businesses at the start.

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