Thousands of Hawaii small businesses tap $3B in virus aid

Thousands of Hawaii small businesses tap $3B in virus aid.

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HONOLULU — Thousands of Hawaii small businesses have tapped into a $3 billion allotment of federal coronavirus relief funding.

U.S. Small Business Administration data shows 23,786 Hawaii businesses received $2.46 billion from the agency’s Paycheck Protection Program as of Friday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The Small Business Administration also provided $542 million in loans for 8,884 Hawaii businesses from its economic disaster assistance program.

The assistance program is funded by $91 billion approved for 1.33 million small businesses nationwide, including $542 million in loans for 8,884 Hawaii businesses.

The figures represent loan approvals and many of the loans, but not all, have been distributed.

The paycheck protection loans were established to help businesses with fewer than 500 employees continue paying workers amid the economic fallout resulting from the pandemic.

The loans up to $10 million can be forgiven if a borrower spends at least 75% of proceeds to pay employees over eight weeks. The balance can be spent on rent, mortgage interest and utilities.

The amount of funds approved for Hawaii paycheck protection loans has declined in recent weeks. The distribution through Friday was $68 million less than the $2.5 billion reported to have been approved through May 8.

The decrease reflects changes to loan amounts and loan withdrawals and approval cancellations.

Some Hawaii residential condominium associations had planned to use the paycheck loans despite not being qualified.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has refused to disclose recipients of the loans, which are taxpayer-funded public subsidies. Some billion-dollar companies reportedly obtained loans.

As of Friday, $130 billion remained available to distribute.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.