Small businesses affected by the COVID-19 stay-at-home order will soon have the opportunity to receive relief funds through a dual track grant process.

Recently, I, along with my colleagues in the House of Representatives, passed a bill, which has now been signed by the Governor, that provides $300 million of small business relief funds to qualifying Mississippians.

It is vitally important that Mississippi businesses be compensated for the lost income suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order. While the pandemic swept through our region, state and nation, many livelihoods were threatened and altered.

We have been working diligently for the people of the State of Mississippi to ensure that each business affected would have an opportunity to receive grant monies, either through an automatic payment or application process.

The $300 million of relief will be divided into two separate tracks. The first portion of the relief funds is in the form of a direct payment of $2,000, provided to businesses that were shut down or had their operations restricted via executive or municipal order. The following categories of small business taxpayers having 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees that were conducting business legitimately would qualify:

Restaurants

Personal Care – Salons and Barbers

Amusement and Recreation

Schools and Instruction – Dance and Gym

Performing Arts Companies – Dance Companies

Spectator Sports

Amusement Parks and Arcades

Motion Picture and Video Industries

Furniture Stores

Home Furnishings

Clothing Stores

Shoe Stores

Jewelry, Luggage, & Leather Goods

Sporting Goods, Hobby and Music Instrument

Book Stores and News Dealers

Florists

Office Supplies and Gift Stores

Used Merchandise Stores

Other Miscellaneous Retail Stores

Childcare businesses (other than home-based

A second grant option would allow eligible businesses to apply for grants between $1,500 and $25,000. The businesses must be in good standing with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and have suffered a business interruption due to COVID-19 to be eligible to apply for a grant up to $25,000.00. To be eligible, the business must have filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, or for a business formed between Jan. 1, 2020 and before Mar. 1, 2020, intends to file taxes for tax year 2020.

The grant application for financial relief clearly defines “eligible expenses” and states that eligible expenses due to interruption of business consist only of mortgage interest, rent, payroll and utilities. $40 million of the grant funds available will be allocated, and made available, to minority-owned businesses. The first 21 days of the grant application process will be dedicated to applicants who have not received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

Administered by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), all grant monies will be disbursed in compliance with federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) guidelines

Our small businesses are our lifeblood and I continue to be amazed by the resiliency of business owners in Alcorn County and the surrounding region. These funds will help many in our community get back on their feet and enable them to provide a valuable business service for years to come.

As always I am honored to serve and If I can be of assistance please contact me at nbain@house.ms.gov or at 662-287-1620.

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