Two More Giant Companies Are Returning Their Coronavirus Loans Meant To Help Small Businesses

Posted: Apr 27, 2020

The two chain restaurants successfully applied for a total of $30 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Potbelly and Ruth's Chris Steak House, two publicly-traded chain restaurants with locations across the country, have decided to return millions of dollars in loans that were meant for helping small businesses survive during the pandemic.

The companies' decisions to return the money came amid public outcry after funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ran out in about two weeks, leaving several small businesses struggling to find help.

Potbelly had secured a $10 million loan meant for small businesses under the program, which was established as part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.

Meant to aid small businesses, the law, however, allowed restaurants and hotels to apply for loans under the PPP so long as they had no more than 500 employees working at a single location.

On Thursday, the Small Business Administration issued an advisory warning that unless companies could prove they were eligible for the loan, the money should be returned.

"We are returning the PPP loan after further clarification from the Treasury Department," Potbelly said in a tweet Saturday. "We will continue to seek alternatives to help support our employees and enable them to return to work so they can serve our loyal customers."

By Salvador Hernandez
April 25, 2020
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