More than 5,300 small businesses in Maine have been approved for roughly $1 billion in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Dozens of Maine lending institutions are currently participating in the program, according to U.S. Senator Susan Collins, who co-authored the measure.

Paycheck Protection Program loans were created to help small employers to continue to pay their workers for an 8-week period during the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans will be forgiven as long as employers keep their workers on the payroll. Certain overhead expenses, including utilities, are also included.

The relief is designed to help thousands of small businesses avoid laying off workers or closing their doors during the health crisis.

“Maine banks and credit unions are working around the clock to assist small businesses and certain nonprofits with their funding needs,” Collins said.

Senator Collins along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) co-authored the bill. Their legislation was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020. 

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