SILVER SPRING, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - The Paycheck Protection Program ran out of its $349 billion fund in just two weeks. Recently, the Senate passed an additional $300 billion in funding for the program.
Small businesses were forced to rush applications in order to get approved which resulted in tens of thousands of claims.
The funds are supposed to pay for eight weeks of salary for staff plus extra money for rent, utilities and other expenses. A business won’t have to pay back the loan if it can retain all of its employees by June 30.
Astro Lab in Silver Spring is one of the businesses lucky enough to receive funding. Emma Whelan, the co-owner, says her bank was able to secure the loan for her business. But she’s afraid to use the money.
Whelan says her staff are predominately part-time servers and bartenders. Right now, unemployment insurance pays her staff over $1,000 a week—more than what they would make in a normal week of work.
“Some bartenders waitstaff are part-time and they’re earning more now on unemployment than they would if they were back to work full time,” says Whelan. “Their unemployment is actually more than their regular salaries so restaurants and some friends of mine are having issues being able to bring back their full complement of staff on the PPP because they actually make more right now on unemployment.”
She knows if she uses the PPP funds, she won’t be able to bring back all of her staff and she’ll lose access to the extra funding.
Whelan says she is planning to give back the funds because she worried about falling further into debt.
The house is expected to vote on the new funding for PPP this week.