RI business community discusses changes in federal PPP loan program


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Before Dan McKee received his first COVID-19 vaccine shot and was sworn in as Rhode Island governor, he made an appearance in his weekly small business forum which was focused on recent changes to the Paycheck Protection Program.

“I’ll be back next week and if everything goes well, I’ll be back as governor,” McKee said during the virtual event.

The forum continued with many of the regulars, including Mark Hayward from the Small Business Administration. He focused on two points, the first being a message to business owners including independent contractors and sole proprietors who may not have submitted a PPP loan application yet.

“Twenty-six thousand  loans have been done in the state of Rhode Island for over $2.5 billion that are going to be forgivable,” he exclaimed.

“We want to make sure these small businesses are taking advantage of the new rules, and we really don’t know what all of the rules are as of yet,” Hayward added, saying they hope to have more information by the end of the week.

Hayward also had a message for businesses whose applications were approved by a lender.

“Don’t close the loan. Don’t accept the funds yet,” he said. “We understand there’s a 10-day rule here where they have to disperse that. In order for you to be eligible for the new calculation methods, that loan cannot be funded. If the loan is funded, it cannot be reversed.”

Another topic of discussion was a program offered by the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants (RISCPA).  

“It’s a free program where you can get free accountant assistance to figure out how to fill this out, because as we all know this is super complicated. It’s very confusing for many people,” Elizabeth Tanner from the R.I. Department of Business Regulation said of the PPP loans.

Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor also provided an up-to-date list of banks accepting PPP loan applications, which he said changes frequently.

Pryor also spoke about the relaxed restrictions for catered events that were announced during last week’s COVID-19 briefing. He said they’re aiming to authorize an increase in capacity for those events to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors by April 10.

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