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State expands eligibility for pandemic recovery grants

State expands eligibility for pandemic recovery grants

The state of New York has expanded eligibility for the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program in order to help more small businesses apply for funding.

Beginning this week, businesses with revenues up to $2.5 million can apply for grants. The previous threshold for revenues was $500,000. In addition, the limitation for businesses that received Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans has been increased from $100,000 to $250,000.

“Supporting the small businesses across our state that got hit hard by the pandemic is a top priority for my administration,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “We simply cannot have a full economic recovery if the small business community continues struggling to survive. With the Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program opening up to a greater pool of businesses, I strongly urge all the owners who qualify to submit their application so they can access this funding.”

Launched in June, the program initially focused on small and micro-businesses across New York state, which largely were left out of federal business recovery initiatives. To date, more than $48 million has been awarded to roughly 2,380 small and micro-businesses in each of the 10 regions of the state. The modifications ensure additional small businesses can more quickly access funding through the program.

“As businesses take the necessary steps to resume full operations, I know that support from the state is vital to their success. As a small business owner, I know first-hand the struggles faced by owners and their employees,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-Rochester), chair of the Assembly Economic Development Committee. “The expansion of this program couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, as unemployment benefits are soon to end for those affected by the pandemic. I know that a stronger future for our families depends on creating healthy businesses with good-paying jobs and this program will help do just that.”

Empire State Development and Lendistry, the minority-led Community Development Financial Institution that was selected to administer the program, will continue to accept and review applications. All current applicants — those who have not finished their applications, have not uploaded documents or have incomplete documentation — are encouraged to finalize their applications as soon as possible. Previously ineligible small businesses may start applying now, and those applications will start being processed on Sept. 8. More information, including program guidelines and the grant application, can be found here.

Grants for a minimum award of $5,000 and a maximum award of $50,000 are calculated based on a New York state business’ annual gross receipts for 2019. Reimbursable COVID-19 related expenses must have been incurred between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, and can include payroll costs; commercial rent or mortgage payments for New York state-based property; payment of local property or school taxes; insurance and utility costs; costs of personal protective equipment necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety; costs for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or other machinery and equipment; and supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

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