Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced at his February 11 press briefing that the state’s COVID-19 relief fund awarded $64 million in grant money to an additional 1,312 small businesses across the state, including 426 food businesses (restaurants, bars, caterers, and food trucks).
This round of grant recipients included 596 minority-owned businesses, 489 women-owned businesses, 356 businesses located in so-called Gateway Cities, and 352 businesses that have received no prior aid during the pandemic.
The grant program, which is administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp., was initially rolled out in December 2020. It is targeted at helping small businesses, giving priority to those that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, including restaurants and bars.
The relief fund provides small businesses with up to $75,000, or three months of their operating expenses. The funds are paid out as grants (they do not need to be repaid), and can be used to cover payroll, mortgages, debt, and other operating costs.
The state’s program, which Baker has referred to as the largest of its kind nationwide, is especially crucial given that Congress still hasn’t passed the RESTAURANTS Act (though a House vote is scheduled for the week of February 22).
While the state aid will certainly help bars and restaurants that continue to struggle as the pandemic continues to rage, it’s worth noting that restaurant workers in Massachusetts still aren’t eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that the state continues to loosen restrictions on indoor dining.
• Massachusetts Announces $668 Million in Relief for Small Businesses, Including Restaurants [EBOS]
• Bipartisan $120 Billion RESTAURANTS Act to Provide Long-Term Relief for Restaurants Is Reintroduced [NRN]
• The House Is Voting on the $25 Billion RESTAURANTS Act the Week of Feb. 22: Here’s What it Entails [NRN]
• When Will Massachusetts Restaurant Workers Be Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine? [EBOS]
• Massachusetts Restaurants Can Operate at 40 Percent Capacity [EBOS]