New COVID-19 relief grants to aid Michigan small restaurant and hospitality businesses

New COVID-19 relief grants to aid Michigan small restaurant and hospitality businesses

With a goal of assisting those in the restaurant and hospitality industry, starting on March 1, 2022, Michigan small businesses that suffered from financial hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency will be eligible to apply for grants under the Afflicted Business Relief (ABR) grant program. Legislation passed and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer makes up to $409 million available for distribution under the ABR grant program.

Grant relief

Under the ABR grant program, eligible businesses in operation before October 1, 2019, may receive a percentage of their loss in total state sales through a grant, up to $5 million. Eligible businesses that began operating between October 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020, may receive a grant equal to 25% of certain specified costs. The grants may be prorated depending upon the number of businesses that apply to ensure that all eligible businesses can receive funding.

Eligibility for ABR grant program

Michigan businesses are eligible to apply if:

  1. The business satisfies all of the following: 
    • Has a physical presence and conducts business operations in Michigan
    • Falls within one nine eligible business categories; 
    • Is not tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 USC 1 to 9834; 
    • Is not a government entity
    • Is currently open for business.
  2. The businesses must make certain certifications:
    • Michigan businesses that were in operation on October 1, 2019 must certify that they sustained a loss of at least 5% in total sales between calendar year 2019 and calendar year 2020.  
    • Michigan businesses that started operations after October 1, 2019, but no later than May 31, 2020, must certify that the business was either fully or partially closed due to an Executive Order or epidemic order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. The business must be able to demonstrate financial hardship by submitting certain documentation electronically.
  4. The business must timely submit a complete application. Additional information on how and when to apply can be found here.

The nine eligible business categories include:

  1. Entertainment venues
  2. Recreational facilities and public places of amusement
  3. Barbers and cosmetologists 
  4. Exercise facilities
  5. Food establishments
  6. Nursery dealers and growers
  7. Athletic trainers
  8. Body art facilities
  9. Hotels and bed & breakfast establishments

Additional information on businesses that fall within the eligible business categories can be found here.

Application deadline and grant distribution timeline

Businesses must submit a completed online application to the Michigan Department of Treasury no later than 11:59 p.m. EST Thursday, March 31, 2022. Grant awardees will be notified in the spring, and grant awards will be distributed by July 1, 2022. The application will become available at 8 a.m. EST on Tuesday, March 1, at www.michigan.gov/abr.

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