PPP loans have benefited local businesses | Local News

More than 430 businesses in zip code 74501 have received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program that was created when the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

The program has provided loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the coronavirus pandemic and has been made available to small businesses, private nonprofits, faith-based organizations, tribal groups , veterans groups and the self-employed who file taxes as independent contractors and sole proprietors.

Businesses that complied with the requirements after receiving the loan were then eligible for loan cancellation.

A second cycle of PPP loans is now available for companies that received a loan during the first cycle.

Sierra Ellis, who owns and operates Sierra Ellis Photography in McAlester, was one of 439 McAlester companies that received a PPP loan in the first round.

Ellis said she had to apply to two separate banks to get the loan approved, but was grateful for the loan when it was approved, even though it only covered a month’s worth. his usual salary instead of the three that the loan was intended to cover.

“I was just thankful at a time when I didn’t know when the next time I was going to be able to afford myself and have that money,” Ellis said.

The photographer said she had five weddings planned in the first three months of the pandemic which were eventually rescheduled.

“I don’t think I started filming weddings and earning an income again until at least June,” Ellis said. “So he was living off deposits that hopefully no one wanted to get back at this point.”

Ellis said everyone who was planning a wedding was “really good” at postponing and no one who was scheduled in that three-month period had been canceled.

“It was just terrifying at the start there,” Ellis said.

Asked about her opinion of the program, Ellis said she thinks the program has done a lot of good.

“I think it’s great for people who could get it. I think it really helped at a time when companies weren’t sure whether or not they could keep going, ”Ellis said. “I saw where people had to close their doors and I’m grateful that I wasn’t one of them because I wasn’t drowning in spending their aid.”

Ellis was concerned, in her experience, that a qualifying business owner might have been disheartened after receiving a denial at one bank and not trying again at another as she had to.

“Who knows how many people went to other banks and didn’t just keep trying like I did and just gave up,” Ellis said. “It was changing so quickly that I feel like a lot of people have potentially become discouraged and weren’t approved for it from the start.”

Ellis said she still had not received her final papers regarding the loan cancellation, even though her lender had told her she was eligible.

The photographer said she was unsure if she would apply for the PPP second-run loan program that was approved by Congress and President Donald Trump in late December as part of a COVID-19 economic stimulus package. larger, but that she would consider it if she was told by her lender that she was eligible.

“Weddings are still on the decline,” Ellis said. “I’ve asked people to reschedule a couple of times last year and quit. So I’m sure a lot of people are holding back right now.

“I could potentially go right now. I do not know; it is still very early.

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