Kent County allocating $5 million to closed businesses

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Kent County announced it will allocate $5 million to businesses closed by executive order as of Aug. 1.

“We must take every action to support job creators who are still shuddered or had a long-delayed reopening,” said Mandy Bolter, chair of the Kent County board of commissioners. “Working with our business owners and economic groups, it has become painfully clear we will lose some of these jobs forever if we do not act now. I’m thankful we have funding to create this targeted program and hopeful our families and friends can get back to work, safely and soon.”

Businesses that qualify for the $5 million fund will receive a short-term economic relief grant ranging from $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000 depending on the size of the business, operating costs and employee count.

The Lit and The Intersection in Grand Rapids are two event venues that saw a 90% drop in revenue because of the pandemic, according to their owners.

“Our revenue is down over 90% for the year, and we have no clear idea of when we will be able to reopen or when live music touring will return to normal,” said Scott Hammontree, partner/talent buyer for The Intersection. “We were among the first businesses to close and will likely be the last to reopen. All of our employees are furloughed, as we have no jobs to offer them.”

“The Lit in addition to the entire events industry has lost nearly 90% of revenue for 2020. If things do not begin to open up soon, we will continue to see lost revenue, canceled events and more hardship moving forward,” said Rob DeVerna, owner of The Lit. “The ability to pivot our services is extremely limited as gatherings continue to be restricted.”

To be eligible, the organization must be a private, for-profit or nonprofit business located and registered in Kent County and closed as of Aug. 1 by executive order. Businesses that qualify include indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, banquet centers, indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, skating rinks, trampoline parks and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

Other eligible businesses include contractors, vendors or suppliers directly serve those described above and have been severely impacted by their closure such as caterers. Applications for this new fund are now live and a link to apply can be found at grandrapids.org.

In addition to the $5 million in business support, Kent County also allocated $750,000 specifically for child care providers.

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