State Senate Bill 20B-001, passed in December’s extraordinary three-day legislative session, should soon yield a bit of financial relief for some Jeffco small businesses hurt by Covid restrictions. …
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State Senate Bill 20B-001, passed in December’s extraordinary three-day legislative session, should soon yield a bit of financial relief for some Jeffco small businesses hurt by Covid restrictions. The bill provides $37 million for direct relief payments to small businesses in counties like Jeffco, that have been subject to severe capacity limits brought on by the move to Level Red (severe risk) on the state’s Covid-19 Status Dial. It allows restaurants, bars, caterers, gyms, movie theaters and live event venues to apply for grants of up to $7000.
The bill emphasizes the need to give relief to small, minority and women-owned businesses. The bill language also specifically states that this monetary aid is given in hopes of preventing further strain on the state’s unemployment insurance program and minimize other ripple effects of the pandemic throughout the economy.
To participate, counties must apply for a portion of the money through the Department of Local Affairs by Jan 8. The money will be distributed to local governments by Jan. 15. The amount of money given to each county is proportionate to the county’s population size.
During a December Wheat Ridge City Council meeting, City Manager, Patrick Goff gave an update about the program, saying Jeffco had decided to opt-in, and calling it good news that will provide some relief to the city’s small businesses.
“The County will be administering those grant dollars for our businesses,” He said. “So we’ll be doing everything we can — reaching out to all of our small businesses so that they’re aware of this new grant program — we’re working on that.”
Eligible businesses that meet the program’s requirements and are approved for a grant should receive their money no later than Feb. 12.
Jeffco small businesses can find more information about how to apply for the grants by visiting the county’s website, www.jeffco.us in early January.
During the move to Level Red, restaurants lost the ability to offer in-door dining, bars and venues hosting other indoor events were closed and gyms were limited to 10% capacity. Other businesses were impacted — retail was limited to 50% capacity, but restaurants and other hospitality venues have been hardest hit.
The Bill also provides $7.5 million for direct relief payments to eligible artists, crew members and arts organizations.
Those payments will be allocated by the creative industries division in the Colorado office of economic development. There is also $4 million in the Bill, to provide direct relief payments, grants, loans, technical assistance and consulting support to minority-owned businesses.
SB 20B-001, sponsored by Senators, Faith Winter (D) and Kevin Priola (R), along with Representatives, Leslie Herod (D) and Shane Sandridge (R), passed the House on December 2, 2020, by a vote of 46-17. The House-amended version passed the Senate by a vote of 30-4.
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