Utah Business Receives PPP Loan, Worries Money Won’t Last

Apr 21, 2020, 10:44 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A small business that received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program has rehired most of its staff but remained concerned that business won’t pick up before the money runs out again.

“It was like falling off a cliff,” said Taylor Vriens, president and CEO of Modern Display. “There was really no way to prepare for it.”

The impact of the coronavirus on the events industry was immediate, and Vriens’ events and retail business was no exception.

More than 50 groups have canceled their events with Modern Display, amounting to a loss of about $3.5 million worth of booked business. On top of that, Vriens’ had little choice but to lay off nearly all of his employees.

“A lot of sleepless nights. A lot of worry,” Vriens said. “We just have to keep working at it and well get through it.”

Now, for the first time since the virus hit the United States, things were finally looking up thanks to the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. The loan is forgivable and allows Vriens to keep the lights on at his business and pay his employees for eight weeks.

In just the first couple of days of receiving the loan, Vriens has managed to rehire about 85% of his workforce. Others, he said, have already moved on to other jobs. But his concern is that the money won’t last.

“Unfortunately, the meetings, events and conventions aren’t just going to turn back on,” he said.

As helpful as the loan has been, it didn’t fill the calendar for the near future. Vriens said clients have continued to cancel events as far out as August.

“I’m very concerned that at the end of eight weeks we may have to go through another round of layoffs,” Vriens said. “Our business isn’t going to be back in eight weeks. And I don’t know what that’s going to look like.”

Vriens’s business isn’t the only one on his mind either. As the chairman of Visit Salt Lake, he knows the tourism and hospitality industries, like many others, were hurting. While there is some optimism that businesses will be able to begin reopening in May, there was no timeline on lifting social distancing recommendations or restrictions.

“We don’t know what the new normal is going to look like,” Vriens said. “Maybe similar to what grocery stores are doing with one-way aisles. There may have to be something like that that encourages people to spread out.”

Still, one thing seemed certain — the recovery for his and other businesses won’t be nearly as quick and dramatic as the fall in March.

“There’s so much uncertainty with this,” he said. “Like I said before we’ve fallen off a cliff. We’re trying to figure out if there’s a way for us to get back to the top of the cliff and we just don’t know.”

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at

KSL 5 TV Live


FILE - Comirnaty, a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, is displayed at a pharmac...

Jen Christensen, CNN

The FDA tells COVID-19 vaccine makers to update shot to target newest variant

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it had advised the makers of the Covid-19 vaccines to formulate their new shots to be a better match for the JN.1 lineage of the coronavirus.

10 days ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

13 days ago

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 03: Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy a...

Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

Fauci testifies publicly before House panel on COVID origins, controversies

Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing heated questioning from Republican lawmakers about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

14 days ago

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

1 month ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

3 months ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Utah Business Receives PPP Loan, Worries Money Won’t Last