WASHINGTON, D.C. — A $349 billion federal program designed to help U.S. small businesses survive the challenges posed by the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic will launch Friday, President Donald Trump announced Thursday.
The CARES Act signed by President Trump provided the $349 billion to establish the Paycheck Protection Program. The program will provide much-needed relief to millions of small businesses so they can keep their workers employed.
"I want to remind small business owners across America that the Paycheck Protection Program is launching tomorrow," Trump said. "Nearly $350 billion in loans will be available to small businesses including sole proprietors. These loans are up to 100 percent forgivable as long as employers keep paying their workers. You have to take care of your workers."
The program is designed to help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. It will provide capital to businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees or SBA fees with a 100 percent guarantee from the SBA. All loan payments will be deferred for six months and the SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities and mortgage interest.
The program will be available retroactive to Feb. 15, according to the SBA.
All small businesses including non-profits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors with fewer than 500 employees will be eligible. The maximum loan amount is $10 million.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza acknowledged there will be challenges with such a large undertaking to support 30 million small businesses across the country.
"The private and public sector must work closely together to ensure that small businesses and their workers across the country are put first," Carranza said. "The administration believes wholeheartedly that if you are a small business, you are a critical part of the economic fabric of this country and your viability is critical to the economic well-being of your employees."
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