Nearly 9,000 businesses successfully submitted applications to the state’s Main Street Recovery Grant Program, which is providing reimbursement grants of up to $15,000 for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Of the applications submitted during the first four days businesses could sign up for the program, the most, 1,686, came from Orleans Parish, followed by 1,308 from Jefferson Parish and 1,208 from East Baton Rouge Parish, according to the Department of the Treasury. About 20,000 businesses started applications during the first four days.
Check mailing is expected to start around Aug. 15.
If all of the applications that have been successfully submitted receive the maximum grant amount, that would total roughly $135 million in payments — nearly half of the $275 million that was set aside for the grant program.
Of the businesses that submitted applications through louisianamainstreet.com, 6% were found to be ineligible for the program. Grants are available to all businesses that were domiciled in Louisiana as of March 1, have fewer than 50 employees, are at least 50% owned by a Louisiana resident, and filed state income taxes in 2018, 2019 or plan on filing in 2020. Home-based businesses and franchisees are eligible, as are sole proprietorships, but the business must have a physical location that is open to customers and employees.
The website launched July 28. The first 21 days after the launch, the program will only be open to businesses that haven’t received any funds from insurers or government programs. The goal is to pay out $40 million in the first two months of the program to businesses that are owned by women, minorities or veterans.
Of the initial applications, 76% were owned by women, minorities or veterans.
Businesses that were forced to close or otherwise affected by pandemic can claim reimbursements for a range of expenses incurred since March 1. Rent, insurance, utilities, payroll, inventory replacement, teleworking equipment, sanitizers, cleaning supplies and equipment needed to set up social distancing are all eligible expenses. About the only thing that can’t be claimed is lost revenue.
The program is designed to help small businesses that didn’t receive assistance from other relief programs established as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, such as the federal Paycheck Protection Program, or from their insurance company.
Sixty percent of initial applicants have received no money as a result of the pandemic. Of the 40% of applicants that did get money, the cumulative total the businesses received was $231 million.