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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: The chamber is preparing to help support small businesses as they work through the loan process.

Earlier this spring, Callaway County businesses worked with local banks to secure millions in Paycheck Protection Program funds, allowing businesses to keep employees despite the challenges of the pandemic.

The Callaway Chamber of Commerce was quick to provide locals with resources, answering questions and arranging webinars to help businesses through the process.

On Sunday, the Paycheck Protection Program was renewed, with $284.45 billion allocated for loans to borrowers including businesses that received a loan under the first round of funding, as well as new borrowers.

Once again, the chamber is preparing to help support small businesses as they work through the loan process. On Monday, chamber Director Tamara Tateosian emailed chamber members, passing on some information about the new relief package from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

"We do have a lot of small businesses in our community that will qualify for this second round," Tateosian said.

Unlike the last round of funding, which served businesses with fewer than 500 employees, applicants for these loans must have no more than 300 employees. The businesses must also demonstrate at least a 25 percent drop in revenues between a quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2020.

The deadline for all new loans is March 31. PPP funds can be used to cover operations expenditures like payments for software, cloud computing, human resources and accounting, property damage costs related to public disturbances in 2020, supplier costs and worker protection such as personal protective equipment and investments to help businesses comply with any COVID-19 guidance.

Businesses that received an earlier PPP loan must have already used or have plans to use the full amount of the first loan.

Concert venues, theaters and museums are not eligible for new PPP loans, but the federal government is offering "Shuttered Venue Operator Grants" for those organizations.

Tateosian said even before the second round of PPP was signed into law, the chamber began receiving questions from local businesses.

"As we get more information, we will be providing that information," she said.

Tateosian said one thing local businesses can do to prepare for the loan application is to begin collecting their financial information.

"It will probably move fast like it did last time," Tateosian said. "We will be here to answer any questions and find information as that becomes available."

The chamber will likely hold webinars on the subject with the Missouri Small Business Development Center in Columbia. The chamber freqently posts webinars on its Facebook page at facebook.com/CallawayChamberofCommerce/events/.

"This (loan program) is much needed for our small businesses," Tateosian said.

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