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Published in Small Business
Entertainment centers are eligible for new state COVID-19 relief funding announced this week. Entertainment centers are eligible for new state COVID-19 relief funding announced this week. COURTESY PHOTO

State announces $409M grant program for businesses that lost revenue during pandemic

BY Thursday, February 17, 2022 12:28pm

A new $409 million state grant program will be available starting March 1 for Michigan businesses that experienced financial hardship as a result of state-ordered shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday announced the launch of the Afflicted Business Relief grant program that is meant to provide businesses with additional financial support to retain or create jobs. The program is funded through Michigan’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, and was created in a state appropriations bill that Whitmer signed in late December.

“This program will support Michigan businesses that were impacted by COVID-19 and help us build on our economic momentum,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I’m focused on putting Michiganders first and growing Michigan’s economy as we work together to take advantage of our $7 billion surplus and make investments in the issues that matter most to families. Right now, Michigan’s resilient, innovative small businesses need support, and we should keep having their backs as they work to expand operations and create more jobs.” 

The funding is available to businesses that can demonstrate a “financial hardship” during the pandemic, which the state defines as “an amount equal to an afflicted business’s decline in total sales in Michigan.” The state has laid out various parameters that caps financial hardship funding based on whether the business is a property owner or a lessee or holds a liquor license.

The funding is not available to tax-exempt or government organizations. Eligible businesses include entertainment venues, recreation facilities, restaurants and bars, and various other public-facing businesses that were shuttered as a result of state-mandated COVID-19 shutdown orders.

Eligible businesses that were in operation before Oct. 1, 2019 may receive a percentage of their loss in total state sales through the grant, up to $5 million under the grant program. Businesses that began operating between Oct. 1, 2019 and June 1, 2020 may receive a grant equal to 25 percent of certain specified costs. 

State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said the Treasury Department is “working with our business and community partners to ensure potential applicants are aware of this funding opportunity. I encourage businesses to check if they’re eligible for a grant.” 

Grants may be prorated depending on the number of businesses that apply to ensure all businesses that qualify can receive funding. Business owners must apply for the program no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 31. Grant recipients will be notified in the spring, and grant money is planned to be distributed July 1, 2022. 

The Michigan Department of Treasury is hosting webinars for business owners interested in applying for the grant program on Feb. 17, 22 and March 7. 

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