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In 2020, the City of Blaine received $5 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The City Council took quick action to utilize approximately $1 million of this money to provide grants to over 60 Blaine businesses and non-profits affected by the pandemic. These grants were awarded in the fall of 2020 and small business recipients ranged in industry from restaurants and retailers to service providers such as health care providers, hair salons, mechanics, and fitness centers.
So far in 2021, CARES Act Funding has been distributed down to the county level. Both Anoka and Ramsey Counties provided application periods for additional COVID relief grants. Another form of assistance, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a Small Business Administration (SBA) program created to help businesses keep their workforce employed. Companies that were able to maintain employee compensation levels through the 8-24 week period of assistance were able to apply for PPP loan forgiveness.
For companies that missed this round of CARES Act Funding, assistance is still available through the SBA. The SBA has a number of programs for assistance including Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the SBA Express Bridge Loan, microloans, and debt relief assistance.
The SBA is currently in the process of setting up the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant for live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, relevant museum operators, zoos, and aquariums who meet specific criteria, motion picture theatre operators and talent representatives. These companies must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020 and must not have applied for or received a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020.
Additional relief funds will be available through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March 2021. The City of Blaine will share more information in the coming months on new assistance programs that will be offered.
For more information on SBA programs visit, SBA.gov.