“Before the application process for the federal Paycheck Protection Program began last Friday, small business owner Mike Cimorelli said he wanted to make sure he was first in line.

So the owner of the Sacramento-based commercial construction company TI Builders Inc. instructed his two sons to get as up to speed as possible on the program and its requirements ahead of time. When the applications began, Cimorelli said, he submitted the required documentation in the first hour.

It was Monday, though, before his bank, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), even acknowledged receiving that paperwork.

And whether he’s getting any money? Word on that is still to come.

“I just think they’re swamped,” Cimorelli said. “I’m hoping to hear something any day.”

Compared to many small businesses, Cimoreli said, he counts himself as lucky. Unlike those that have curtailed or stopped operations entirely because of shutdown orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, his firm still has about a half-dozen active jobs and is signing up more. His biggest concern, he said, is whether guidelines for social distancing and other measures in response to the pandemic will be strengthened to the point that construction, considered an essential business for now, can’t function.

“Really, it’s that whole cloud of uncertainty,” he said.

Cimorelli said he decided last week to apply for a PPP loan to keep his 16 employees on the payroll if work slows, or construction is halted. So far, he hasn’t had to lay off anyone, though he is getting more creative with assigning shifts to keep everyone busy and comply with workplace guidelines, he said.

If Cimorelli receives money and uses it for payroll or other business expenses such as rent, the loans would be converted into grants.

The process of applying was straightforward and simple, he said. But credit for that has to go to his sons, who he described as smart guys who did a lot of research ahead of time.

“They found really good information online,” he said”

Originally posted by The Sacramento Business Journal.

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