As a result of the Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”), the federal government has passed significant legislation in an attempt to provide relief to businesses struggling with economic hardships as a result of widespread closures and stay-at-home orders. One major part of these governmental actions includes the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (also known as the “CARES Act”) on April 2, 2020.
The CARES Act provides for approximately $2 trillion in aid through expanded unemployment assistance, individual relief checks, tax credits, loans, and grants to businesses which were closed or significantly effected by COVID-19, and funding to hospitals and health care facilities. Of this, approximately $350 billion was allocated to the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP). When that money was almost immediately sought by the millions of businesses seeking assistance, an additional $175 billion was additionally allocated.
The PPP limited its funding to each company to two and a half times the company’s average monthly payroll costs. While the PPP is considered a loan program, the funds may largely (or entirely) be forgiven as long as the company uses the funds for approved expenses. The details of exactly which expenses would be considered approved and how these funds could be used has been the subject of much uncertainty over the past several weeks. Indeed, the SBA (Small Business Administration) has posted additional rules and guidance on the matter more than 10 times in two months.