Small businesses got hit extremely hard because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a majority of those businesses are worrying about if they will be able to fully rebuild. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is trying to ensure that all small businesses have the means to reopen fully. Keep reading below for more on the Rebuild VA Program.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that the $70 million economic recovery program Rebuild VA is expanding its eligibility criteria to allow more small businesses to apply for economic relief grants.

Under the Rebuild VA program, which launched in August, businesses that received federal CARES Act funding are now eligible to receive up to $10,000 in grants. Businesses that received federal funding must certify that they will use the funding only for recurring expenses and that the grant will not be used to cover the same expenses as CARES Act funding.

“When we initially launched Rebuild VA, we focused on reaching the small businesses and nonprofit organizations most in need,” Northam said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for the work of our state agencies to swiftly adjust the parameters of this program so we can assist more Virginia businesses as they weather this health crisis and build back stronger.”

Eligible businesses and nonprofits (with gross revenues of no more than $1.5 million and no more than 25 employees) must show that their normal operations were limited by Northam’s Executive Orders 53 or 54 or that they were directly affected by business closures. In March, Northam implemented protections including limited operations for food and beverage, nonessential brick-and-mortar retail, exercise and fitness, entertainment and public amusement, personal care and personal grooming, and private campground and overnight summer camps. These businesses, along with hotels and lodging, are eligible to apply for the grants.

Rebuild VA funding can be used for the following:

  • Payroll support, including paid sick, medical, or family leave, and costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during those periods of leave
  • Employee salaries
  • Mortgage payments, rent, and utilities
  • Principal and interest payments for any business loans from national or state-chartered banking, savings and loan institutions, or credit unions, that were incurred before or during the emergency
  • Eligible personal protective equipment, cleaning, and disinfecting materials, or other working capital needed to address COVID-19 response

The program is administered by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and is partnered by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Tourism Corp. and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The group made the decision to expand eligibility criteria after analyzing eligible and ineligible applications received within the first 30 days of the launch.

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