On November 30, 2020, Governor Mills announced a $40 million economic recovery program to support Maine’s tourism, hospitality, and retail small businesses. The Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Recovery Grant Program is focused specifically on supporting Maine’s service sector small businesses, such as restaurants, bars, tasting rooms, lodging and retail shops, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and now face additional challenges with the coming winter months.
To qualify, a business must demonstrate a need for financial relief. Need will be evaluated based on gross sales loss between March and September 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis which will allow for funding to be dispersed as applications are received and reviewed.
The application portal will open Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 9:00am on the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development’s website and will remain open until funds are depleted. The application is expected to take about ten minutes to complete. Funds must be committed by December 30, 2020 per guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Grants may be used to cover expenses, including but not limited to: payroll costs and expenses; rent or mortgage payments for business facilities; utilities payments; necessary operating expenses; expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary re-opening expenses; purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business or business related equipment. Funds must be spent on operations that are strictly within Maine. Recipients are liable for any misuse of funds, and the grants are subject to audit.