Mnuchin may ask for more small business loans

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US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House on March 25, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The small business measures aim to help companies cover payroll and other expenses during the punishing outbreak. Firms with fewer than 500 employees can use the money to cover salary, wages and benefits, with a maximum loan of $10 million or 250% of monthly payroll. 

The loans will be available through Small Business Administration-approved lenders. Payments will be deferred for six months, and companies can apply for forgiveness on at least part of what they borrow. 

Companies can get the loans forgiven if they use the funds on pay, rent, mortgage or utilities, but the amount forgiven gets reduced if businesses cut jobs or reduce pay.

Lenders will start processing applications for the loans as soon as Friday, according to the SBA. 

Numerous lawmakers have already called for more legislation to mitigate the pandemic’s damage as widespread layoffs hit workers and the health-care system in parts of the country buckles under the strain of COVID-19. Jobless claims have already reached a record 3.3 million. Friday’s government employment report for March will show an even broader picture of how the outbreak has hurt workers.  

Businesses in large parts of the country are expected to stay shut down at least through April. 

The U.S. has more than 189,000 cases of COVID-19, and at least 4,081 deaths have been linked to the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

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