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May 4, 2020

$317M awarded to small Maine businesses in 2nd bailout round

O2 hair salon exterior in Portland. Photo / Renee Cordes Many hair salons in Maine remain closed despite being allowed to reopen under a plan announced by Gov. Janet Mills last week. 02 Salon, on 605 Congress St. in Portland and photographed Sunday afternoon, says on its website that it remains temporarily closed.

A total of $317 million in loans have been awarded to 9,000-plus small Maine businesses so far in the second round of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Amy Bassett, director of the agency's Maine District Office, said that 9,026 loans has been awarded to Maine businesses by Friday, with an average loan size at $35,145 — which is critical help for some of Maine’s smallest businesses, she said.

She told Mainebiz that the process is going well.

"While it was hectic at the beginning of Round 2 due to the pent-up demand and significant influx of applications," she said, "things are running smoothly now and lenders in Maine are still committed to helping all small businesses gain access to the program. "

To any small businesses who hasn't yet applied or is in process of doing so, she recommends working with a lender as quickly as possible to get an approval.

The news comes after Gov. Janet Mills last week announced a plan to gradually reopen the state's economy in stages, and pressure from some business groups and owners to move up the timetable.

Mills has underscored the plan is subject to adjustments in both directions.

PPP relaunch 

The federal Paycheck Protection Program for employers hurt by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis was expanded after its $349 billion initial budget was quickly exhausted.

Since the relaunch, an additional 2.2 million loans have been made to small businesses, already surpassing the total number for the first phase.

The total value of the 2.2 million loans is more than $175 billion, putting the average U.S. loan size at $79,000. Since the small-business relief program was launched on April 3, SBA has processed more than 3.8 million loans for more than half a trillion dollars of economic support.

“SBA systems are processing loans so lenders can disburse funds quickly," U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin in said a joint statement Monday morning.

They added: “We are fully committed to ensuring that American workers and small businesses continue to get the resources they need to get through this challenging time.”

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