NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - State Treasurer John Schroder announced a $275 million grant for small businesses, while the Senate passed an extension for Payment Protection Program loans with some changes.
Through the Main Street Recovery Program, small businesses can recieve up to $15,000 to help cover COVID-19 related expenses come July 28.
"It's $275 million. It's a grant, which means if you can show your expenses, it will grant you this money and you won't have to pay it back," Schroder said.
Schroder says businesses, with less than 50 employees, can apply for up to $15,000 to cover eligible expenses.
"What the legislature said is look, we want to first try and touch the businesses that have received no funding yet in any source, and they will be eligible only in the first 21 days," Schroder said.
Those who already received funding can apply after the 21 days.
Schroder says the grant will help cover all kinds of expenses.
"Anything you bought for your business to help protect your customers. your rent, your payroll, your utilities. Things like that are all going to be eligible," Schroder said.
Business owners who haven't already received PPP loans may still have a chance to do so after the Senate passed an extension Tuesday.
"The program has changed. I think we've seen a slight uptick when they changed the percentage you could use for payroll versus business expense lowered to be more favorable for businesses to give them more flexibility," Fidelity Bank President Chris Ferris said.
There's approximately $130 billion left over from the program, which Ferris says will likely be used towards the extension.
He says more people are applying for the loan now under new guidelines.
The 75% that was originally required for payroll is lowered to 60%.
"The 25% that you could use fo business expenses, that's now 40%.the forgiveness period, which was another big part of these changes. An eight week period is now expanded to a 24 week period," Ferris said.
Katie's Owner Scot Craig says he received the PPP loans in the beginning and wishes the program was structured differently.
"You had to figure out how to spend all of that money in a two month period of time which we all thought was absolutely ridiculous, but now they've done what it probably originally should've been and extended to," Craig said.
He, along with some other business owners say they've gone through their PPP money, and still need help.
"The whole thing wasn't handled very well in our opinion, definitely in my opinion. I wish I would've known it would be extended because we certainly could've put that money to really good use," Craig said.
If signed by President Trump, the PPP program will be extended until August 8.