The hospitality sector, particularly lodging and accommodations, represent the largest percentage of recipients from Governor Mills’ distribution of financial awards to Maine small businesses and non-profits that began yesterday according to a press release issued today by her office.
That vital industry received 35% of the first round of distributions from the Economic Recovery Grants Program in Federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). The funds provide some financial relief for businesses and non-profit organizations that incurred business disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2,329 awards, which include 2,072 going to small businesses and 257 going to non-profits, for a total of $105 million and average just over $45,000 per award with recipients spanning the entire state. The grants are intended to help sustain the viability of Maine’s small businesses and non-profits – not to replace lost profits – and will provide short-term relief to help stabilize Maine’s economy.
“There is no question that Maine’s small businesses are struggling to survive unprecedented economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Mills in the press release. “While these funds will not make them whole, they offer some lifeline to keep afloat those small businesses that are at the core of our economy. I encourage all eligible businesses and nonprofits to apply for the second round of this relief as I continue to call on Congress to provide more direct aid to the State of Maine,” she said.
On September 21st, Governor Mills announced the second phase of the Economic Recovery Grant Program. This second phase expands the access to the Program by increasing the number of eligible organizations. Under Phase 2, businesses and non-profits that employ up to 250 people for grant awards. In addition, licensed childcare and behavioral health organizations will be eligible in this round, along with businesses and non-profits that are less than one year old. The application portal for Phase Two of the Economic Recovery Grant Program remains open until October 23, 2020.
Grants awarded through the Program may be used to cover expenses including: payroll costs and expenses; rent or mortgage payments for business facilities; utilities payments; and necessary operating expenses; expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary re-opening expenses; purchase of PPE required by the business or business related equipment.