This Wednesday, May 26, Business Oregon will open the final portion of a program to provide grants for small businesses to help with commercial rent and operational costs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Oregon Legislative Emergency Board allocated approximately $100 million for the program to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic and the restrictions it necessitated. Following two rounds of distribution of Commercial Rent Relief assistance grants, approximately $28 million remains to be distributed in this final round through the Operational Cost Assistance Grant.
The Operational Cost Assistance Grant is designed for businesses with 100 or fewer employees in industries that were particularly affected by the pandemic, including those that:
1. offer the consumption of food and or drink on premise;
2. provide specified indoor physical exercise, recreational or family entertainment; OR
3. provide specified personal services.
Restaurants, bars, gyms, brewpubs, theaters, bowling centers, and salons are some of the more common examples of eligible businesses. Full details of the program, including eligible industries, is available on Business Oregon’s website and in application materials. Applicants must have faced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Oregon.
Applications for the Operational Cost Assistance Grant will be accepted beginning May 26, and continue through June 6.
The application process is NOT first-come, first-served. Awards will be selected after a random lottery process of all complete and eligible applications received. Applicants are encouraged to take time with the application form to make sure all information is correct. Missing or incorrect information, particularly simple contact information such as email and phone numbers delays processing significantly.
Businesses that previously received assistance grants through the State of Oregon Commercial Rent Relief Program for the same location are eligible to receive this new grant, as long as the award amount through the Commercial Rent Relief Program was less than $100,000. Total combined awards from either program will not exceed $100,000 for a single applicant.
The first two rounds of the Commercial Rent Relief Grant has processed payments to help more than 2,400 small businesses throughout Oregon. There are still some applicants that have either not responded to follow-up communications from Business Oregon, or that provided incomplete or incorrect information. Applicants that have not heard from Business Oregon are encouraged to contact Business Oregon via email or phone at 833-604-0880.
This is the seventh COVID-specific program Business Oregon has implemented to help businesses navigate the impacts of the pandemic. One of those programs — the emergency small business grant — helped about 7,400 small businesses with $43 million in grants to help offset revenue impacts from COVID-19.
More program information and eligibility details are available on Business Oregon’s website, along with the application link beginning May 26.