We’ve spoken a lot here at Grantnews about states trying to figure out a response to COVID-19, especially as it pertains to small businesses, who have been massively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states have instituted lockdowns to slow the spread of this disease, but those actions have hurt businesses, who have had to deal with limited ability to open, resulting in the closing of over 100,000 small businesses as of May 2020. Many states have had to figure out a way to save existing businesses, and now the state of Maine under Governor Janet Mills has opened up a $200 million assistance program for nonprofits and small businesses to help them weather the storm.
Governor Mills’s Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program is being backed by 200 million in CARES act Coronavirus Relief Funds and will be working to provide funding for nonprofits and small businesses that suffered business interruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the governor’s office:
“The grants are intended to help sustain the viability of Maine’s small businesses and nonprofits – not to replace lost profits – and will provide short-term relief to help stabilize Maine’s economy while still focusing on the state’s long-term goals described in the state’s 10-year strategic economic development plan.
In order to qualify for a grant under this program a nonprofit or small business must meet several criteria:
- Demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues minus expenses incurred since March 1, 2020, due to COVID-19 impacts, or any resulting public health actions (such as lockdowns)
- Have significant operations in the state of Maine (at least half of their staff and operations must be in Maine)
- Employ less than 50 total employees (including contract employees)
- Have been in operation for at least one year as of August 2020
- Not currently in bankruptcy or ceased permanent operations as of August 2020
- Be in current good standing regarding all Maine State payroll taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes through July 31, 2020
- Be in good standing with Maine’s Department of Labor
- Be in compliance and not subject to any enforcement action with COVID-19 Prevention Checklist requirements
The Governor called this a short-term solution to a much larger problem invoked by the COVID-19 pandemic and called on the federal government (namely congress) to help with fixing the problem in the long term:
My Administration will do all we can to support Maine’s small businesses through these difficult times. While we know these grants cannot wholly replace or repair the economic damage this pandemic has caused, our mission is to ensure that each dollar has at least a small, direct impact on supporting these businesses and Maine’s economy. We continue to hope that Congress will step up to provide greater relief to the people and the State of Maine.”