Businesses that were worried about getting capital to survive in April are now also anxious about reopening and loan forgiveness, said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve got to try to make sure that policies are flexible enough to address those changing anxieties,” Sullivan said.

Supporters of PPP say that, despite glitches, the unprecedented program has helped keep millions of workers on payrolls. They include seven full-time employees at Menzies’s other business, the Little Joe’s bookstore. While Menzies is closing his restaurant for good, he was able to slowly reopen the book and coffee shop after using his second loan, for $42,500.

There’s about $130 billion left in the program. Some independent contractors, the self-employed, and other small firms still need help, but the PPP rules are too restrictive and ambiguous, said Amanda Ballantyne, national director of the Main Street Alliance, a network of small businesses.

“It’s not creating the level of certainty that business owners need to feel like they can confidently take this money and use it and not end up in more debt than they’re already in,” Ballantyne said.

Business owners, in particular restaurateurs, want to extend the loan-forgiveness period to as many as 24 weeks because they aren’t ready to reopen or fully operational. They also need the freedom to use more funds for non-payroll such as rent and reopening costs. (Right now 75% must be spent on payroll).

The House approved a bill 417-1 on Thursday to make many of those changes, sending the measure to the Senate, where there’s also bipartisan legislation for program fixes. It’s not clear yet what might become law and when.

The Independent Community Bankers of America anticipates a flood of loan-forgiveness applications. Paul Merski, an ICBA executive, said the organization wants borrowers with loans of $1 million and less to be able to certify that they followed loan-forgiveness rules without having to complete an overly complex and burdensome process.

“You’re going to have angry small business owners, you’re going to have angry small banks -- and politically, that’s a very dangerous place to be in,” Merski said.

--With assistance from Jeff Green, Hannah Levitt, Olivia Rockeman and Ed Ludlow.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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