Created by Congress as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, the PPP was designed to support small business owners by providing them with money needed to survive temporary closures, with $376 billion reserved for workers and small businesses.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said earlier in the week that more than a million companies with fewer than 10 employees have gotten loans, but that he was pleased to see Shake Shack announce it would return the money. "The next round of funds must be focused on small businesses, with better oversight and transparency".
Congress is poised to approve another rescue package this week that will provide an additional $310 billion for the program after Democrats blocked a quick extension of the small business funds.
The PPP offers loans of as much as $10 million that convert to grants if proceeds are used to keep workers on the payroll and cover rent and other approved expenses for about two months, a stopgap created to help businesses get by until the economy reopens.
UK Announces COVID-9 Vaccine Trials Start From April 23
Hancock said an additional £22.5 million in funding will be made available for researchers at Imperial College, London .
As Congress rushes to pump another $310 billion into the popular Paycheck Protection Program, created to help small businesses retain their workers for two months, experts say to expect a delay in the money being available and that it's likely to quickly run out of cash once again. Other measures Democrats secured in the new legislation include an additional $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for a national COVID-19 testing strategy, funding that comes with a requirement that the Trump administration form a "strategic plan" for helping states with testing. "Many of these companies are stuck in limbo waiting for this additional funding". Remarkably, even hedge funds, major restaurant chains and Harvard University cashed in on the loans under the existing terms, while most owners of actually small businesses were left high and dry. The funds go to private commercial banks that in turn make loans available to businesses.
Restaurant chains Shake Shack and Sweetgreen Inc. returned their PPP loans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) saw a crush of business owners applying for loans in early April as states across the country required storefronts to shutter in response to the threats posed by the spread of the virus.