Facing public backlash, government warnings, and private misgivings, more than a dozen publicly traded companies and big businesses have so far announced they have returned, or intend to return, small-business coronavirus relief loans issued by the Small Business Administration.

Under the Paycheck Protection Program launched midnight April 3, businesses can apply for loans with their banks to help them shore up payroll and fund essential expenses, such as rent and utilities. If the businesses follow certain rules, such as using the bulk of the funds to keep employees hired and paid, the loan turns into a forgivable grant.

Over a million businesses large and small applied under the loose guidelines that said companies must have fewer than 500 employees and be able to demonstrate economic injury due to the coronavirus shutdowns.

But after the $350 billion of initial funding started to run dry and publicly traded companies with more access to funds started making headlines for receiving government assistance while smaller businesses were left out, some companies had second thoughts.

The SBA and Treasury Department issued new guidance this week, clarifying that the loans were not intended for companies with access to the equity market. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned companies last week that could suffer consequences if they could not certify they were facing economic injury. Companies have until May 7 to return funds “in good faith.”

On Tuesday, Mnuchin said companies receiving loans over $2 million would be audited, and warned of potential criminal liability.

Out of the over $900 million received by the 250 public companies that disclosed PPP loans, the total amount returned by the companies is nearly $120 million. Together, the 15 companies have a combined market cap of over $17 billion.

Under the program, the maximum loan size is $10 million, based on payroll calculations. Two firms, Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group and J. Alexander’s Holdings, received in excess of $10 million because each had two subsidiaries that applied for a separate loan.

Aquestive Therapeutics

Description: Specialty pharmaceutical company and maker of Suboxone, an opioid addiction treatment.

Loan: $4,830,000

Market cap: $139,702,093

Full-time employees: 232

Ballantyne Strong

Description: Holding company whose subsidiaries make cinema equipment, projectors and lighting.

Loan: $3,173,900

Market cap: $23,300,000

Full-time employees: 290

BioLife Solutions

Description: Supplier of cell and gene therapy tools, including design and manufacturing of liquid nitrogen tanks and cryogenic equipment.

Loan: $2,175,320

Market cap: $229,678,262

Full-time employees: Not disclosed

BK Technologies Corporation

Description: Suppliers of two-way radio equipment.

Loan: $2,196,335

Market cap: $30,200,000

Full-time employees: 109

CalAmp Corp.

Description: Sellers of equipment and systems for remotely monitoring vehicles.

Loan: $10,000,000

Market cap: $218,274,636

Full-time employees: 882

Hallmark Financial Services

Description: Property and casualty insurers for businesses and consumers.

Loan: $8,311,000

Market cap: $56,362,819

Full-time employees: 439

IDT Corporation

Description: Newark, NJ-based telecommunications company that offers service and sells prepaid phone cards.

Loan: $10,000,000

Market cap: $152,360,276

Full-time employees: 1,270

J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc.

Description: Holding company for several casual restaurant chains, including the Stoney River Steakhouse & Grill, Redlands Grill, and Lyndhurst Grill steak chains.

Loan: $15,100,000

Market cap: $66,201,491

Full-time employees: 4,200

Kura Sushi USA, Inc.

Description: American subsidiary of a Japanese sushi chain, with over 400 locations.

Loan: $5,983,290

Market cap: $106,894,657

Full-time employees: 1,400

L.A. Lakers

Description: Los Angeles NBA franchise.

Loan: $4.6 million

Estimated value: $3.7 billion

Nathan’s Famous

Description: Casual restaurant chain specializing in hot dogs.

Loan: $1.2 million

Market cap: $253,346,932

Full-time employees: Not available

OptiNose, Inc.

Description: Pharmaceutical company focused on delivering products for treating ear, nose, throat and allergy patients.

Loan: $4,400,000

Market cap: $195,101,189

Full-time employees: 221

Potbelly Corporation

Description: Restaurant chain with nearly 500 locations, specializing in heated sandwiches.

Loan: $10,000,000

Market cap: $72,096,379

Full-time employees: 6,000

Ruth’s Hospitality Group

Description: Holding company that owns the chain of high-end Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations.

Loan: $20,000,000

Market cap: $273,802,586

Full-time employees: 5,740

Shake Shack

Description: Fast casual chain of made-to-order ground beef burgers and its namesake milkshakes.

Loan: $10,000,000

Market cap: $1,912,811,047

Full-time employees: 7,603

Ultralife Corporation

Description: Battery and communications manufacturer.

Loan: $3,459,278

Market cap: $112,523,178

Full-time employees: 573

Wave Life Sciences Ltd.

Description: Clinical-stage genetic medicine company based in Singapore.

Loan: $7,234,890

Market cap: $300,165,896

Full-time employees: 301

Data source: NBC News analysis of SEC filings, FactSquared, Google Finance, Forbes. Last updated: 4/28 4 p.m. ET.

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