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  • Keeping business open: Figures show west central Nebraska benefits from PPP

    Keeping business open: Figures show west central Nebraska benefits from PPP

    In west central Nebraska, Congress’ largest COVID-19 aid program reached the small businesses for whom it was intended.
    An all-out effort by community bankers during the pandemic’s strictest April and May health restrictions pumped $41.25 million into Lincoln County and $184.7 million into 22 counties in The Telegraph’s traditional coverage area.
    In North Platte, where PPP’s forgivable loans totaled just over $38 million, small business owners have said the program helped them meet payrolls and basic expenses while COVID-19 slashed their income or forced temporary shutdowns.
    North Platte’s two ZIP codes (69101 and 69103) accounted for 596 PPP loans, slightly above the North Platte Area Chamber & Development Corp.’s total membership of 580 employers.
    “We promoted the heck out of it,” said Gary Person, who also helped craft a May emergency small-business gift-card program with city Quality Growth Fund assistance as chamber president and CEO.
    “I think it was much-needed relief and no doubt saved many jobs where many may have had to lay off more as a result of the business restrictions and economic slowdown.”
    PPP, part of the CARES Act signed March 27 by President Donald Trump, was designed to cover about 2½ months of payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utility costs for employers of 500 or less.
    Nationwide PPP totals through Aug. 8 were released Dec. 1 by the U.S. Small Business Administration after 11 national news organizations sued for the information.
    Information downloaded directly from SBA’s website included recipients’ names but not exact loan amounts for PPP loans of $150,000 or more.
    The Telegraph was able to fill in those loan totals for west central Nebraska with help from a public searchable PPP database on federalpay.org, a website of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Continue reading...

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