MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES $6 MILLION IN NEW GRANT FUNDING TO SUPPORT THE SAFE AND HEALTHY REOPENING OF SMALL BUSINESSES

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City has provided over $13.5 million in funding to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19

BOSTON – Tuesday, May 26, 2020 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced $6 million in new debt-free grants to support the safe and healthy reopening of small businesses in Boston, continuing the City of Boston’s commitment to provide rapid, equitable, and transparent relief to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will help qualified small businesses implement the necessary public health measures required to reopen safely. In total, the City of Boston has provided over $13.5 million in City, federal, and private funding to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“When our small businesses are ready and able to open, we want our business owners and workers to have access to the appropriate resources to stay safe,” said Mayor Walsh. “These additional grants will help level the playing field for Boston’s small businesses and support both our public health and economic equity priorities.”

This new funding is aimed at supporting small businesses with under 15 employees and with a majority of employees who are required to work in close proximity to each other and may need to physically engage with their clients and customers. This includes, but is not limited to, personal care businesses including salons, barber shops, retail, and food services. Professional Services, and businesses whose employees can work from home will not be eligible for the funding. All applicants for the funding must have a brick and mortar location within the City of Boston.

The new grants announced today will be released in three rounds, coinciding closely with the phases laid out in the state’s reopening guidance.

Each of the three rounds will provide grants up to $2,000 for small businesses to install the required materials to implement public health measures and procure personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to reopen. The targeted businesses in the first round will be focused on personal services including barber shops and hair salons. The second round will target retail, restaurants, including outdoor dining materials, and remaining personal services including nail salons, day spas, waxing, and laser services. The final round will include bars, arts and entertainment venues, and fitness businesses.

Applications will open on Thursday, May 28 at 5 p.m., will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis, and will be available at boston.gov/reopen-fund.

While some businesses are allowed to reopen beginning on Monday, May 25 as part of the state’s phased reopening plan, the City of Boston is urging businesses to only reopen with caution if they feel it is safe to do so. For additional questions about opening small businesses in Boston, please contact smallbiz@boston.gov.

The City of Boston is also holding a series technical assistance workshops for small businesses to address challenges around reopening. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Boston Licensing Board, the Public Works Department, Boston Transportation Department, the Inspectional Services Department, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and the Boston Main Streets program, will discuss reopening guidelines, PPE and cleaning supply needs, as well as updated City policies to support businesses reopen safely.

Technical Assistance Workshops
Tuesday, May 26
11:00 AM
How to build a virtual business
(Appointment scheduling, contactless payment, etc.)
Wednesday, May 27
2:00 PM
Legal Overview
Thursday, May 28
2:00 PM
Utilizing online platforms
Friday, May 29
1:00 PM
Financial Planning
(Will include how to plan with PPP funds)
Friday, May 29
3:00 PM
Healthy Spaces

Last week, Mayor Walsh announced that nearly $4 million in debt-free grants have been distributed to over 1,100 small businesses in every neighborhood across the City of Boston through the Small Business Relief Fund, including the $2 million distributed to businesses earlier this month. The businesses receiving grants represent industries most-impacted by closures, policies, or general loss of revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout every neighborhood in Boston. Of the nearly $4 million that has been distributed, the top five industries funded represent small businesses in the most-affected industries, including hospitality, personal care, arts and recreation, retail, and healthcare and social assistance (home childcare, family services, personal and home care aide, etc). A full list of businesses that have received funding is available here.

The City of Boston has also created a new platform to help businesses source the personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies they will be required to have available in order to ensure the safety of employees and customers as industries begin to reopen. Along with industry-specific reopening requirements, the page includes a list of self-identified, local suppliers of PPE and cleaning supplies, information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ vendor database, and partner organizations, including BECMA, helping to connect businesses with vendors.

As business owners, employers, and employees navigate an evolving COVID-19-related assistance landscape, the Economic Development Office has created a Federal Assistance Guide, Financial Relief Handbook and FAQ document, all of which are continuously updated. Small Business conference calls will continue every Tuesday at 3pm to communicate policy updates, answer questions, feature relevant City of Boston departments, and troubleshoot the ecosystem of funding available from the state, federal, and private industry.

The City of Boston has created a number of useful guides and resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Open Businesses in Boston and Support Boston Restaurants platforms have helped businesses to publicly share that they are open and direct residents into supporting local establishments. The above resources and more industry-specific guidance are accessible on boston.gov/covid19-businesses . For all coronavirus updates from the City of Boston, please visit boston.gov/coronavirus.

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