State opens business relief grant applications

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Industries that experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic have a shot at relief funds in a program that now is taking applications.

Last December, the state of Michigan appropriated $409 million for a newly created Afflicted Business Relief Grant Program. The program is designed to help Michigan businesses that experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic.

The application period opened 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 1, at michigan.gov/abr, and applications are due at midnight Thursday, March 31.

“This program will support the many West Michigan businesses, especially small businesses, impacted by COVID-19 restrictions,” said Nate Henschel, director of government affairs for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber is working with our business and community partners to ensure potential applicants are aware of this funding opportunity. We encourage businesses to check if they’re eligible for a grant.”

Examples of eligible businesses

  • Entertainment venues
  • Recreational facilities
  • Barbers and cosmetologists
  • Food establishments
  • Nursery dealers and growers
  • Places of public amusement
  • Athletic trainers
  • Hotels and bed and breakfasts
  • Body art facilities

Under the program, eligible businesses in operation before Oct. 1, 2019, can receive a percentage of their loss in total state sales through a grant, up to $5 million. Eligible businesses that began operating between Oct. 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020, can receive a grant equal to 25% of certain specified costs. The grants can be prorated, depending on the number of businesses that apply, to ensure all eligible businesses can receive funding.

The Michigan Department of Treasury has hosted several informational webinars on the program. The next one is Monday, March 7. Registration is at michigan.gov/abr.

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