Demand is expected to be high for Paycheck Protection Program loans as stay-at-home orders continue amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

With applications for the latest, $284 billion round of the PPP restarting Monday, demand is anticipated to be large among San Diego County small businesses reeling again from pandemic restrictions on their operations.

The forgivable loans, which provided a lifeline for many small businesses early in the pandemic, are not open to all qualifying firms just yet. The program has been tailored this time to give first-time borrowers and underserved businesses a head start in submitting applications.

But soon most non-publicly traded small businesses with 300 or fewer employees should be able to seek PPP funding, perhaps as early as next week.

Read more from Mike Freeman at The San Diego-Union Tribune, as well as check out comments from our network director, Danny Fitzgerald.