virus Peoria Charter loan

Peoria Charter buses are shown Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, at the company's expanded Urbana location.

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URBANA — Peoria Charter has received a loan from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program that will allow it to hire back nearly all of its full-time employees.

The bus company was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than $2.5 million in cancellations in the past month, and it laid off more than 120 employees.

It also cut service from Peoria and Normal to Chicago.

“This loan is providing Peoria Charter the opportunity to give employees back their jobs and livelihood,” said company owner Bill Winkler. “Although travel is not something that is currently occurring during this pandemic, we are actively searching for opportunities to help our community.”

The Paycheck Protection Program is a $349 billion emergency loan program that was part of the recently approved $2.2 trillion relief package.