Yuma small businesses experiencing economic distress and revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 based on the type of business.
The city recently released more information on the small business relief grant program adopted by the council last week to directly support local small businesses impacted by the virus and closures mandated by Gov. Doug Ducey.
The council on Wednesday unanimously agreed to use $320,000 of its $11.3 million allocation in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding to help small businesses in the community.
“The intention is that the city is able to offer these relief grants to many of those businesses as we step up to navigate this public health crisis and its economic impacts,” Nicholls said in a city press release.
To apply for the grant funding, businesses must be located within the city limits and listed in one of the five business types described below:
• Business Type 1, eligible for up to a $1,500 relief grant, includes hair and nail salons, barber shops, massage therapists, tubing operations and water parks.
• Business Type 2, eligible for up to a $2,500 relief grant, includes movie theaters and restaurants with no indoor nor fully enclosed dining as of July 15.
• Business Type 3, eligible for up to a $5,000 relief grant, include restaurants with indoor or fully enclosed dining, fitness clubs or indoor gyms with less than 4,500 square feet, as well as fitness centers/studios that provide services for self-defense, dance, Pilates, CrossFit, yoga and gymnastics.
• Business Type 4, eligible for up to a $7,500 relief grant, includes bars.
• Business Type 5, eligible for up to a $10,000 relief grant includes: indoor gyms or fitness clubs with more than 4,500 square ft. of space.
In addition, small businesses will need to meet additional qualifications through the application process, including, but not limited to, owning or leasing a commercial real property within the city limits, gross revenues under $2 million in 2019, and 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.
The city noted that applying for the grant does not guarantee that funding will be awarded, and each business entity may only apply once. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, until funding is exhausted or until the grant period ends.
The program may be modified or extended by the city based on applications and available funds. The city said it will soon release additional information and details on how to apply.
The federal monies first went to the state and were dispersed by Gov. Doug Ducey to local governments through the AZCares program.
According to the press release, the vision for the relief grants came from Nicholls as he surveyed local businesses. “Supporting local small businesses most affected by the recent closures is an important focus for the community,” the mayor said.
Nicholls hosted a series of virtual meetings in the spring to hear directly from Yuma businesses following the governor’s mandated closures. Rodriguez and rotating individual members of council joined Nicholls in talking with the owners of bars, hair and barber shops, massage therapists, restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and additional business owners as well as nonprofits and churches regarding their challenges and concerns.
The city is working quickly to have the online application for businesses available, and it will be announced as soon as it is ready, the press release said.
“We are not done finding solutions for our community, and I’m eager for businesses to apply for and receive these funds as soon as possible,” Nicholls added.
By Mara Knaub, Yuma Sun Staff writer