Car dealerships, restaurants and manufacturers are among the dozens of local businesses that received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans of at least $150,000 to help stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All told, there were 98,138 loans approved in Minnesota totaling more than $11.2 billion and 85,461 loans in Wisconsin totaling more than $9.8 billion as of June 30, according to a report released July 6 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Treasury Department.

The report identifies businesses that received PPP loans in five amount ranges, accounting for nearly 75% of all loans approved:

  • $150,000-350,000
  • $350,000-1 million
  • $1-2 million
  • $2-5 million
  • $5-10 million

Businesses approved for loans under $150,000 were not identified by name.

Here are the PPP loan recipients in the three largest cities in the Rivertowns.net coverage area:

Red Wing, Minn.

Hudson, Wis.

River Falls, Wis.

Enacted in April as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES, the $669-billion program is credited with helping employers to cover basic expenses like payroll at a time when social distancing measures and public health concerns are disrupting the way they do business. Businesses that applied for PPP loans generally had to employ fewer than 500 people per location to qualify for the program. Loans can be forgiven provided that a borrower uses 60% to cover wages.

“The PPP is an indisputable success for small businesses, especially to the communities in which these employers serve as the main job creators,” Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a news release.

PPP loans are issued by lending institutions, such as banks and credit unions, and guaranteed by SBA.

Approximately $130 billion in loans are still available through the program, for which Congress again extended the application period last week. That extension was partly the work of Rep. Angie Craig, who sponsored the bill calling for it that President Donald Trump signed into law on Saturday, July 4.

The freshman lawmaker from Minnesota authored another bill that would allow select businesses to apply for a second PPP loan.

Craig hosted a virtual meeting Monday, July 6, to hear from chambers of commerce representatives in the 2nd Congressional District in southeastern Minnesota. The small business representatives voiced concerns ranging from difficulties applying for pandemic relief to uncertainty about schools reopening in the fall.

“I know people are very nervous about that decision this fall, about what that’s going to look like,” Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce President Patty Brown said, noting it was stressful this spring for workers operating businesses from home while also helping children with distance learning.

Matthew Guerry and Forum News Service contributed to this story.