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Paycheck Protection Program deadline moved to May 31

Last-minute spike in applications from NH businesses reported before extension approval

There was a rush of applications by New Hampshire small businesses for Paycheck Protection Program loans in the week before the planned March 31 deadline. But it turns out that deadline was extended yesterday for two months.

President Biden on Tuesday signed a bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, to extend the PPP deadline to May 31, after it passed the Senate on a 97-2 vote last week. The House had already passed the bill the week before by a 415-3 margin.

But New Hampshire businesses, especially smaller businesses, were taking no chances. The U.S. Small Business Administration approved 1,406 forgivable loans totaling $45.3 million in the week ending March 28. Nationally, 482,551 businesses received $16 billion that week. In both cases, that’s the most loans approved in a single week since mid-January, when this second round of the PPP began.

So far, the SBA has approved nearly $212 billion in loans out of the $284 billion appropriated by Congress.

The average loan size last week was $32,246 in New Hampshire, reflecting greater participation by small businesses. Through the entire round, the average loan size has been $80,627.

Support for venues

Another group of businesses – entertainment venues – will be able to apply for assistance beginning next week.

When the Shuttered Venues Operating Grant (SVOG) was created in December, applicants had to choose between applying for that program or a second PPP loan. But the new America Rescue Plan allows them to apply for both, but only if you apply for the PPP first. The SVOG application period is scheduled to open on April 8.

The $16.2 billion SVOG program potentially involves more money for an individual applicant than the second round PPP loan, which is now limited to $2 million. The maximum size of SVOG grants (they are not forgivable loans) is $10 million, though they can’t be more than 45% of revenue. The SBA said in a presentation Tuesday that it expected to grant 15,000 awards averaging $1 million each.

The grants can be spent generally operating expenses, with no specific percentage of it having to be payroll, mortgage payments and other loan payments.

The SVOG program will be open to the hardest-hit venues first – those that saw a 90% drop in gross revenue between April and December 2020 – and the following week to those that saw a 70% revenue drop during the period.

Then, after a review to see how much money is left, it will be opened up to others, with a requirement of at least 25% loss in revenue during any quarter of 2020 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019.

If the money does run out, there is a chance Congress will replenish the program.