What the Cares Act has for travel agencies: Travel Weekly
Question: I am overwhelmed by the large number of similar sounding loan and grant programs in the new Cares Act. What is the best program for small and medium travel agencies, independent contractors and tour operators? How do we get the money back and how long will it take? Is there really a special program for airline âticket agentsâ as I read?
A: At the end of March, one Cares Act program that you can currently apply for is the Economic Disaster Lending Program (EIDL), where any small business can get pretty quick loans of up to $ 2. million dollars directly from the Small Business Administration (SBA) here. The SBA has $ 10 billion to lend under this program.
Any business with 500 employees or less as well as sole proprietorships and independent contractors (CIs) can apply. EIDL loans can be used for the payment of fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, employee sick leave, and other bills that cannot be paid otherwise. The Cares Act also allows EIDL applicants to ask the SBA for an advance of up to $ 10,000 that does not need to be repaid even if the applicant is subsequently refused.
However, the best new program for small and medium agencies as well as ICs and tour operators may turn out to be the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It is designed to subsidize employee and other expenses and encourage employers to rehire laid-off staff.
To apply, you will need to submit an application to one of the 1,800 banks that are regularly part of the SBA loan program. At the end of March, I couldn’t find such application forms online, but I’m sure you will be able to find some by mid-April.
The PPP is a $ 349 billion loan program that will allow all businesses (including CIs) suffering from the coronavirus outbreak to borrow money for a variety of qualified costs, including compensation for employees (of those earning less than $ 100,000), health care benefits, rent, utilities and interest.
The maximum amount of such a loan will be 2.5 times the average total monthly payroll for the 12 months preceding the granting of the loan, up to a maximum of $ 10 million. No personal guarantee will be required.
The beauty of the P3 program is that the loan can be partially or even fully canceled according to a complicated formula which basically provides that the more employees you keep or bring back in the eight weeks after getting the loan, the bigger the loan will be. forgiven.
There are other emergency loan and small grant programs available through the SBA, and you can check them out. here.
The special $ 25 billion airline program also provides money to “ticket agents,” who are defined by federal law as a person who “offers for sale, negotiates, or poses as selling, providing. or organizing air transport â. Details of the program are still being worked out at the Treasury Department, and guidelines are expected to be released by mid-April.
Clarification: A previous version of this column indicated that a travel agency could include its compensation to independent contractors in the payroll calculation for its Payroll Protection Program loan application. While the law expressly states that this is the case, new Small Business Administration guidelines state that CI compensation should not be included, as CIs can apply for their own PPP loans.