BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Representative Peter Welch says efforts are underway to give the Paycheck Protection Program more flexibility when it comes to loan forgiveness.
During a morning Zoom roundtable with dentists from around Vermont, Welch said the changes made by Congress are designed give businesses more time to meet the conditions for loan forgiveness and more flexibility on how they can use the federal money. Businesses now have until the end of December to bring back 100-percent of their full-time employees and have their PPP loans forgiven. But not all businesses think they can bring their staff back on that timeline. Welch was asked whether that 100-percent mark could be lowered so businesses could bring back 75-percent of full-timers and still have their loan forgiven.
"My understanding is there is some flexibility because just on a practical level -- I keep going back to the restaurant situation because its a very easy thing to understand. There's no way that restaurants are going to go back to pre-COVID demand within that period of time. It just won't work," Welch said.
Since the funds became available in early April, over 11,000 Vermont businesses have received a total of $1.2 billion. PPP loans are still available, but applications must be approved by June 30th.
Welch also pinned the current "price gouging" of personal protective equipment on the Trump administration, saying the strategic stockpile wasn't full and that the administration did not take a central role in distributing it, which led to states bidding against each other.
Dentists and their employees have to wear a lot of PPE to protect themselves and their patients and some say the increased demand has made it difficult for them to find.