The U.S. economy has been improving somewhat, with decreases in the unemployment rate, but long-term effects of the crisis remain, Vallante said. And that’s without considering the possibility of new outbreaks of COVID-19 forcing additional shutdowns.

“You know, the one quick shot of infusion was good, but [small businesses] are going to need something that’s more sustained to get them adjusted to the new way they do businesses,” Vallante said.

When and if that occurs, the lessons learned when putting in place the Paycheck Protection Program earlier this year should mean a more smooth process for business owners, Vallante said. For example, Vallante said while small and local banks and credit unions really stepped up to provide loans to their communities, larger institutions were slower on the uptake.

The program has also received criticism for the amount of money that ended up with large corporations that had not been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and for some instances of fraud.

Northland-Rural Therapy Associates co-owner Tom Cosner said they received about $300,000 during the second phase of the program, with over 90% of that money being used to continue paying their 40 employees.

“That definitely was a huge, huge relief for us. And we were able to continue paying people probably longer than we would have initially intended,” Cosner said, adding that because they work with schools, the summer months are already slow.