While Whatcom County is on a pathway to Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start plan, many businesses face the possibility of running out of money prior to being able to re-open. The Paycheck Protection Program loans that have been secured by many local businesses require owners to spend funds in an 8-week period starting the day they received the loan.

The scenario in Whatcom County — unique to states with a more delayed re-opening process — creates the prospect of having to pay back a portion of their loan prior to being able to generate revenue.

“We strongly encourage anyone who received a PPP loan to contact Senators Cantwell and Murray and encourage them to pass the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, said Tony Larson, president of the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA). “The complexity of the PPP loan and the uncertainty around a full re-opening means that businesses must be advocates for themselves — and become wise financial planners. Our community has many outstanding professional accountants who can assist with the PPP loan forgiveness application.”

A recent national survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that most small business who received a loan are in the middle of their 8-week period.  For 7% of those surveyed, that eight-week period ends June 8th, however, most borrowers have a few weeks to go. While the data did not focus on Whatcom County, anecdotal evidence suggests many local businesses are on a similar timeline.

The WBA will continue to advocate for the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act and inform local businesses of changes to the program.