Local businesses apply for Paycheck Protection Program

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Not all approved banks are ready to start taking applications for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loans, which kicked off today.
$350 billion dollars has been earmarked for the program.

While it’s off to a shaky start, many local businesses are getting their applications ready to keep their companies afloat during this unprecedented time.

They’re some of Sioux Falls’ most established restaurants. Vanguard Hospitality owns Minerva’s, Grille 26, Turks & Caicos Cabana Grille and Morrie’s Steakhouse. But COVID-19 has taken a huge bite out of business.

“The community has really stepped up and definitely tried to back us knowing we have to go to carryout only,” Michael Gjernes of Vangaurd Hospitality said.

Vanguard Hospitality employs approximately 250 people at its Sioux Falls restaurants. Now that it’s been reduced to just carry out, its volume of business has been greatly reduced as well.

Kennecke: You are trying to keep on as many employees as you can during this time?
Gjernes: Yes, we are. We kept waiting for the stimulus.

Vanguard Hospitality is now applying for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.

“For the industry we’re in, they hit a home run for us,” Gjernes said.

The Paycheck Protection Program is offering businesses with fewer than 500 employees loans up to $10 million to cover payroll, health benefits rent payments and mortgage interest for eight weeks. If businesses follow the rules, during that time, the loan is forgiven.

“We’re trying to get through these next couple months of recovery. And the idea of this whole program is to keep people employed,” Jaime Wood, SD District Director of the Small Business Administration, said.

“When we get back to normal, whenever that is, you don’t want to start with a blank slate. That is almost equally as bad,” Gjernes said.

As far as the hassle of getting some banks on board, the SBA says a few trials are to be expected.

“This is definitely an unprecedented program we are putting in place. It does take a little bit of time to get a national disaster response activity going. We actually think we are doing a remarkable job of rolling this out, Wood said.

Vanguard hasn’t had any issues applying through its local lender.

“It will really enable us to focus on the key things over the next eight weeks and that means not worrying about trying to get people through the door, so you can pay attention to the health side—so you’re not so much worried on the business side,” Gjernes said.

The deadline for businesses to apply for SBA Paycheck Protection loans is June 30th.

The loans won’t be forgiven if a business owner cuts employee or wages by a certain amount during designated time period.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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