In the PPP application, only one line pertains to the effects of Covid-19. In signing the application, I agreed to the statement: “Current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.” We’re incurring additional expenses to protect against a potential shutdown, but for the moment my business is in a strong financial position. Yet in light of recent shutdowns of meat-processing facilities, we know our Little Rock, Ark., plant could be next. This counts as “economic uncertainty.”

I agonized over the decision to apply for the loan, but ultimately accepted it, placing it in a separate account. We have every intention of repaying it in full. But if in 60 days I maintain my current payroll, then the loan can be forgiven. I assume the loan was intended to help companies that are currently shut down or severely suffering remain in business and keep their employees on the payroll. But the program doesn’t differentiate between companies that are completely shut down and those operating at 50% or 100% capacity.

That means profitable companies like mine, which may weather this storm regardless of the stimulus, have no incentive or obligation to pay back the money.