OGDEN — The state still has more than $30 million to give to businesses struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, and officials say recent changes to the program will make more companies eligible.
Administered by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the money for the program was included in State Bill 3006 and appropriated during a special legislative session in May.
The fund started with $40 million and portions of the money have already been distributed to thousands of Utah small businesses — including nonprofits, sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed — that have lost revenue due to measures taken to minimize the public’s exposure to the virus.
As of July 13, the state has received more than 1,600 applications for the funding and has doled out nearly $9 million, according to GOED Media Relations Director Tony Young. Young said the most requested sectors are retail, food and beverage, and health care. He said the average check sent to businesses is just under $5,500.
But Young said a recent number of alterations recently approved by the Utah Legislature will extend the program to more businesses.
Revenue loss percentages in the program have changed, which means businesses with COVID-19-related revenue loss between 30% and 44.9% can now receive up to 50% of their monthly rent. Businesses with revenue loss exceeding 45% can be awarded 100% of their monthly rent, and the program also allows eligible businesses to receive two months’ rent instead of just one.
The maximum amount of money a business can receive has been raised from $10,000 to $15,000, excepting entities with multiple locations, which can now receive up to $30,000.
The definition of a small business has also been shifted, from 100 employees maximum, to 100 full-time employees.
“These changes ... will help many businesses that did not qualify previously,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director, in a press release.
According to GOED’s website, companies that have pending applications under the old rules will be automatically reconsidered. If they qualify for additional grant money, checks will be mailed. Though applications for the grant are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, the program is still well-funded with over $30 million.
To learn more about the program, visit utahgoed.info/comrent.