Businesses that received government loans and grants as part of a package of pandemic relief measures should be allowed to apply for more money, Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday.

At a Senate committee hearing, Collins asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin if the Trump administration would support allowing businesses, particularly hard-hit tourism-related businesses, to apply for more aid from the Paycheck Protection Program. Mnuchin indicated that the administration would likely support a measure with bipartisan support.

Thousands of businesses applied for the loans, which became available in April. The loans will be forgiven and considered grants if most of the money is used for payroll, mortgage and rent costs.

About $130 billion in funding remains in the program. It originally provided up to $349 billion in forgivable loans.

Collins, who was one of the four authors of the bill that created the program, told Mnuchin that hotels, restaurants and businesses dependent on tourism are still struggling due to a sharp drop in economic activity. Many states are only now beginning to reopen their economies after many workers were ordered to stay home to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

In Maine, restaurants in the state’s rural counties have begun to offer dine-in meals, but restaurants in larger counties, including Cumberland, York and Androscoggin, are still barred from opening dining rooms to customers, although some offer outdoor seating.

Mnuchin said he agreed with Collins that some industries, particularly restaurants and hotels, will need more help to get them through the shutdown period and recover as economies reopen.

He also told Collins that businesses that have received PPP funding can apply for loan forgiveness as soon as they use all the money they borrowed through the program. The loans generally run for 24 weeks.

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