CATSKILL — Small businesses can begin June 10 applying for pandemic recovery grants from the state.
Grant amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000.
“The state has put up $800 million,” Greene County Economic Development and Planning Director Karl Heck said. “The grants can be used for reimbursable pandemic expenses like payroll, supplies and materials related to COVID, rent and mortgage.”
State funds could prove a lifeline for many businesses as the economy begins to reopen after months of shutdowns due to the virus outbreak.
“A lot of businesses were closed during the pandemic and they weren’t making any revenue,” Heck said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced May 25 the funds would be available through the Small Business Recovery Grant Program to help businesses recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
“New Yorkers and small businesses in every corner of the state were devastated by the pandemic, and as we continue to recover and rebuild we need to make sure they have the resources they need to get back on their feet and succeed in a new, reimagined economy,” Cuomo said when he announced the funding.
There are economic requirements businesses need to meet to be eligible for the funding.
“They have to have had gross receipts between $25,000 and $500,000 for the years 2019 or 2020, at least one of those two years, and demonstrate at least 25% loss in gross receipts year over year,” Heck said.
COVID-related expenses that are eligible for reimbursement must have been incurred between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, and can include payroll costs; commercial rent or mortgage payments; local property or school taxes; insurance and utility costs; expenses related to the purchase of personal protection equipment, or PPE; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning costs; supplies and materials needed to be in compliance with COVID protocols; and other machinery or equipment costs, according to the state website.
The grants could prove to be a boon to local small business owners, Heck said.
“Hundreds of Greene County businesses could benefit,” he said. “We have a lot of small businesses so there are a lot in that demographic. A significant number of people would be eligible so we want to get the word out that this is an opportunity for recovery.”
Small business owners are encouraged to apply as close to the June 10 start date as possible. Previous pandemic recovery programs ran out of money long before many businesses put in their applications, Heck said.
“It is better to apply early. As the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund showed, that was important — it was oversubscribed,” he said. “Businesses applied for double the amount of money that was available.”
That recovery program had $28 billion in available funds, Heck said.
“They got almost $60 billion worth of applications in three weeks and had to shut it down,” he added.
The state’s Small Business Recovery Grant Program will award grants, not loans, so the funds do not have to be paid back.
“There are still businesses that are looking for restart capital and others that are limping along,” Heck said. “The smaller businesses had less capital at the beginning of the pandemic and would probably be harder pressed to get fully going.”
Small business owners interested in applying for a state recovery grant can visit the website NYSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov for more information or to apply.