BOSTON — The Baker administration is touting grants to companies struggling amid the financial fallout of the pandemic, however enterprise leaders say extra reduction is required.
On Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker visited a restaurant in Boston’s North Finish and urged enterprise homeowners to use for the newest spherical spherical of pandemic reduction.
“We all know how a lot this pandemic has impacted small enterprise,” Baker mentioned. “We actually do hope that individuals who qualify could have an opportunity to use to obtain a number of the assist that this program could make accessible.”
The grants are from a brand new $668 million fund. Small companies that qualify can obtain as much as $75,000 to cowl bills for a number of months. Friday is the deadline to use.
The state has already doled out almost $200 million to greater than 4,000 companies, Baker mentioned.
The brand new bundle is available in response to the Baker administration’s resolution to tighten limits on capability for many companies in response to a surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations which are stressing the state’s well being care system.
Baker beforehand rolled again reopening plans to Part 3, Step 1, which required some leisure venues to shut and tightened different restrictions.
Baker administration officers say the cash is on the market to a spread of companies together with eating places, bars, gyms and health facilities. It may be used for something from making payroll and hiring employees to debt funds.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito mentioned the grants will help carry certainty to companies that in any other case face “very troublesome and unsure occasions.”
On Wednesday, there have been 5,278 new coronavirus instances and 86 extra deaths reported in Massachusetts. Greater than 2,220 individuals are hospitalized with the illness.
At the same time as state lawmakers look to offer reduction, enterprise leaders warn of a “good storm” of upper labor prices that might worsen the scenario.
Small companies face a mean 8% enhance in medical insurance premiums this yr. A multi-billion-dollar deficit within the state’s unemployment insurance coverage fund might drive up charges that employers are required to pay by 60%.
In the meantime, retail and restaurant gross sales are down 50% from a yr in the past, because of authorities closures and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
A $900 billion stimulus bundle signed by President Donald Trump consists of an extension of the Paycheck Safety Program. It supplies one other $284 billion in forgivable, federally backed loans for qualifying small companies.
Joe Bevilacqua, president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, mentioned the state and federal support helps hold companies afloat, however extra is required.
“We’re involved that many companies received’t survive this winter,” he mentioned. “The reduction is useful, however there’s all the time extra that may be accomplished.”
For extra in regards to the grant funding go to: www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and web sites. E-mail him at email@example.com.