Walsh Announces New COVID-19 Relief Funds for Small Businesses

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of three new funds totaling $6.3 million that will support small businesses within the City of Boston that have been affected by COVID-19, focusing on commercial rent relief, supporting certified women, minority, and veteran owned small businesses, and restaurant payroll and rental relief. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Boston has allocated more than $15 million toward direct grants to small businesses.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been listening closely to the needs of our small business community.” said Mayor Walsh. “These conversations are crucial to ensuring a safe and equitable recovery for our City. The new funds we are announcing today will address those needs to better support the small businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

The application period for these three new funds opens on Monday, November 16, 2020 and will remain open for a period of one week, closing at 9:00 am on Monday, November 23, 2020. Small businesses may not apply for more than one of the three new relief funds. Previous recipients of the Small Business Relief Fund and Reopen Boston Fund, including restaurant fall and winter relief, may apply to any one of these funds:

1. Commercial Rent Relief Fund:

Provides up to $15,000 in commercial rent relief for the period between April 1 – December 31, 2020. Priority is given to small businesses in industry sectors in Phase 3, Step 2 and Phase 4 of the state’s Reopening Massachusetts plan, and those industries and neighborhood commercial areas hardest hit by COVID-19. Both a commercial landlord and small business tenant must participate in order to apply.

2. Certified Business Relief Fund: 

Provides up to $15,000 in direct grants for small businesses currently certified with the City of Boston as women, minority, or veteran owned small businesses (MBE, WBE, MWBE, VOSBE, SLBE). The City’s Certified Businesses Directory can be found here.

3. High Road Kitchens Restaurant Relief Fund:

In partnership with the One Fair Wage program, High Road Kitchens, and Councilor Lydia Edwards’ Office, this fund will provide $15,000 in direct grants to restaurants for COVID-19 relief, in order to commit to provide a $20 minimum wage for all restaurant workers by 2026. The Fund will directly provide wage reimbursements to restaurants to retain or rehire their employees or other food service employees who have lost employment or been underemployed due to COVID-19. Use of funds may include both rent and payroll. Priority will be given to independently owned small and local restaurants, as well as restaurants owned by immigrants, women and people of color.

“It’s important that we don’t forget about restaurant workers when we talk about the struggles of the industry. Without restaurant workers there would be no restaurant industry. I’m proud to have partnered with the administration, One Fair Wage, and High Road Kitchens on the development of this program that will provide relief to restaurants that commit to good labor practices,” said City Councilor Lydia Edwards.

These new small business relief funds are supported the federal CARES Act Relief Funding, along with philanthropic funding. In accordance with the regulations, the project must provide resources or assistance to mitigate effects on health and/or provide economic support. Mayor Walsh will further expand the Reopen Boston Fund to offer an additional $1,000 in grants to other small businesses. To be eligible, businesses must have already applied for the Reopen Boston Fund and must include a description and updated budget of how the business plans on using the funds to further their reopening during the Winter. Applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed funding. Businesses must have all proper documentation and permits if operating in outdoor spaces. Interested businesses can reapply on boston.gov/reopen-fund and click on Winter Fund. The Reopen Boston Fund, which remains open, has issued more than $2.65 million in grants to 1,471 businesses. Applications are accepted at boston.gov/reopen-fund

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