Small businesses were given exclusive access to PPP loan applications for two weeks

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WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — President Joe Biden says the country’s smallest employers can access the paycheck protection program first.

Biden announced the program changes on Monday. He hopes this will help smaller companies that may have missed out on staying in business last time around.

“Not the ones with 500 employees, but these small companies that make up 90 percent of America’s businesses with a handful of people,” Biden said.

Starting this Wednesday, companies with fewer than 20 employees will have a two-week exclusive window to apply for PPP loans.

“A lot of these mom-and-pop companies have been sidelined by larger companies that have jumped in front of the line,” Biden said.

Biden says self-employed and independent contractors are now also eligible for loans.

“So there’s more money — we’re talking a lot more money,” said Mark Jackson, owner of Blue Dolphin Engineering in Fresno, California.

He says the first round of PPP funding has allowed him to keep his seven employees.

“Salary protection. And that’s what it did,” Jackson said.

Jackson already secured his second round of PPP funding earlier this month, but he and Ann Rollins of the Poe Center for Health Education in Raleigh say Biden’s announcement is welcome news for companies with just a few employees.

“Because they’re the neediest,” Rollins said.

Small businesses that have already received PPP funds cannot change their loan amounts under the new rules. The Biden administration says larger companies that already submitted their applications before Wednesday will not lose their place in the line.

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