RI businesses hope for better luck as PPP reopens

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – More help is on the way for small businesses across the country affected by COVID-19, as the PPP loans will start up again Monday to those that applied through their banks.

Businesses can apply through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and receive potentially forgivable loans if the money is used to pay for business-related bills, like rent and utilities, and employees are kept on the payroll.

When the program first launched it ran out of money but on Friday President Trump signed into law that the program would be funded with an additional $310 billion.

Roberto Leon owns four restaurants, including Condesa in West Warwick. He said the first time around, he applied but it wasn’t a great experience.

“We applied for four loans. One went through the process the other three kept bouncing back like the server would crash,” Leon said. “Without the federal help programs or federal lending it will be really hard for people to survive.”

Without the federal help, Leon had no choice but to layoff some of his workers until restrictions are lifted.

“It was bound to happen. All the servers, the bussers, the hostesses, cooks, salaried employees, hourly employees,” he said. “We’re working with a skeleton crew.”

His bank tried applying as soon as it opened Monday morning but did not have any luck in the first couple of hours.

“It all depends on the traffic through the server if it doesn’t crash or anything. I know that I talked to [my banker] earlier today at 10:00 a.m. and he still wasn’t able to put some applications in,” he said. “Hopefully the PPP comes through with us and we can hire some of our people back and try and figure it out.”

Meanwhile, for Krystal Parrillo, owner of Krystal Rose Salon in Coventry, she didn’t have any luck when she first applied, and was hoping for better news starting Monday.

“Initially I received an email that said they ran out of money,” Parrillo said. “I’ve just been going through the little bit of savings I have in my account right now. The unknown is what scares me. How long is this going to go on?”

Without federal help,”I’d say another month or two, then I’m in trouble.”

Parrillo is currently on unemployment benefits because of the coronavirus, and because she is her only paid employee, there’s a big conflict when it comes to the PPP loans.

“I cant collect unemployment and get this loan. And the whole purpose of me getting this loan wasn’t for me to pay myself it was for me to pay my expenses. My business expenses,” she said.

Leon said the loans are a bit of a double-edged sword for him, as he is not sure if he will qualify for the loan to be completely forgiven, and he doesn’t want that burden over his head once everything goes back to normal.

“Ideally, we would want as much as we can take right. But it’s also in the back of your head I have to pay this money back,” Leon said. “They’re saying its going to be forgivable, but you know, we don’t know that yet.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Politics, Regional News, Rhode Island