ARIZONA — Gov. Doug Ducey and Local First Arizona have partnered to provide small business grants to gyms, bars, movie theaters and other businesses impacted by the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The governor announced that gyms, bars, water parks and theaters can apply for a state grant to cover up to two months' rent or mortgage payments.
The Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant will hand out $10 million to businesses that were specifically forced to close during the state's shutdown: bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks and tubing operators. The maximum award a business can get is $25,000 to use toward up to two months of rent or mortgage payments.
"Grants will be prioritized for businesses that are most in need of the funding to meet their rent or mortgage obligations and do not have access to other financial support," according to a statement on the Local First website.
Businesses were forced to shut their doors as Arizona's coronavirus case numbers spiked in late June and early July. The original order from the governor's office was set to expire July 27 but Ducey extended it, aiming to reevaluate every two weeks based on Arizona's cases. A judge ordered Ducey give businesses like gyms the opportunity to reopen on Aug. 4.
The state released reopening metrics on Aug. 10. Some small businesses have already applied and had their reopening plans approved and are back in business. But many remain shuttered, including bars that don't serve food.
"We want to have a consistent process," Ducey said at his Thursday coronavirus briefing when asked about reopening bars. "We want to apply it in a consistent manner. But I think anybody's frequented some of these places knows how different each situation is."
In order to qualify for for the grant program, businesses must have been operating prior to Jan. 1, 2020, must be located outside of the owner's residence and must employ less than 50 people. Only one application per business will be accepted.