A man walks past a 'for rent' sign posted in the window of an empty storefront in downtown Bar Harbor on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

More than 2,400 Maine businesses were approved for loans in the first two weeks of the renewed Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable small business loan program targeting a subset of hard-hit businesses in its newest iteration.

Loan applications reopened earlier this month after the program, initially co-authored by Sen. Susan Collins, received an additional $284 billion in funding as part of a December stimulus bill. The 2,400 Maine businesses approved in the first two weeks will receive a total of $221 million in funding, with an average loan size of about $92,300.

More than 28,000 Maine businesses received Paycheck Protection Program loans last spring in summer, with total funding exceeding $2.2 billion. Businesses that received a first loan last year are allowed to apply again.

But the loans are more targeted this time, with business size capped at 300 employees rather than 500. Applicants are also required to show a 25 percent decline in revenue in at least one quarter of 2020. Maine’s hard-hit hospitality businesses should have little trouble meeting that requirement, state revenue data suggest, though construction companies and law firms actually made up a higher share of loans during the first program’s first round.

Maine’s business community clashed with Gov. Janet Mills this week over the Democratic governor’s proposal that forgiven loans from the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program be claimed as income eligible for state taxes. Mills later backtracked, saying her administration would look for other sources of funding to make up the estimated $100 million gap.