The federal Paycheck Protection Program has run out of money days after several groups and officials warned the fund was shrinking. Officials are still urging businesses to prepare their applications in anticipation Congress will earmark more funds.
Creators of the Paycheck Protection Program sought to prevent employee layoffs by giving small business owners the money they need to pay their employees. Now, those funds have dried up, leaving many small businesses in Florida floundering.
"If you did not make it on this go around, that's okay. We're very confident, and we're hopeful that Congress will enact a CARES Act part two," says CEO and President of the Florida Bankers Association Alex Sanchez.
The CARES Act was a federal coronavirus relief package that funded the Paycheck Protection Program. While they wait for a potential part two, Sanchez recommends small business owners go to their FDIC bank and fill out all the documentation they need, so they are ready when the program begins accepting applications again.
"There are an awful lot left at the curbside, and all of them were told by Congress that they should continue to pay their payroll, and they will be there to back them up. So this needs to be fixed," says Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Florida Bill Herrle.
Presuming the state remains under a stay-at-home order, Herrle says in the worst-case scenario layoffs could start to rise again as they did immediately at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced more than 50,000 businesses had gotten their loans approved. Still, Herrle says there's a big difference between having a loan approved and getting the money wired to an account.
"We're talking about two log jams here. The first is the businesses that were able to get in line quickly, get a loan approved, who are still waiting for that wire transfer... Another equally large population of Florida business owners for whom the money ran out before they could get in line," Herrle says.
Sanchez comments that business owners who already have their loan approved will get their money, but those who haven't will have to wait to see if Congress puts more dollars into the program.