Governor Janet Mills is encouraging small businesses to apply for the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. 

It's a great way to get the bills paid while waiting out the pandemic. Governor Mills says the funds are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), through a loan program designed by Congress to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those loans will be forgiven for eligible small businesses if all employees are kept on the payroll for 8 weeks and the money is used for approved expenses, including payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our state's economy," said Governor Mills, "and there is no question that they - and their hardworking employees - are facing significant hardship as a result of COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program can deliver vital capitol to small businesses and critical income to their workers."

U.S. Senator Susan Collins, who co-authored the legislation creating the program, says a total of 1,816 Maine employers have already been approved for nearly $511 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. Lenders began processing loan applications on April 3, 2020 and the program is available through June 30, 2020.

In addition to the payroll protection, small businesses are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster loans through the SBA. According to the SBA, the loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for small businesses and may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can't be paid because of the pandemic.