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Small businesses to be awarded grants in recovery from COVID-19 impact

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BATON ROUGE- A bit of financial relief is on the horizon for small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Louisiana State officials are now urging more people to apply for Main Street Grants. They're intended to help those taking a hit because of the pandemic, like TNT Smokehouse Owner Shantelle Perkins.

"Customers haven't been coming like before. It's like business is at a standstill," Perkins said.

Which is why she says it's vital for her to apply for the Main Street Recovery Program.

"It would provide for me to hire another employee, and it would allow me to continue to buy PPE," Perkins said.

The state has set aside $275 million to give to small businesses hit during the pandemic. The reimbursements can be for rent, payroll, supplies, and will be capped at $15,000 per applicant.

But, there's some confusion over eligibility among business owners.

"This is a reimbursement program. You get reimbursed for COVID-related expenses, so you have to show receipts for what you claim," State Treasurer John Schroder said.

Schroder spoke at Southern University Thursday, urging more small business owners to apply.

He says even those who have already received COVID-related aid may be eligible.

"The first 21 days have been set aside for businesses that have received no federal aid at all, but anybody can apply today. So apply today even if you've received some governmental financial aid," he said.

Of the funds available, $40 million must go to women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. 

Perkins says her business just needs to get by.

"My business really needs this grant, and I hope that we can get it," she said.

State Treasurer John Schroder says the program will last until the $275 million in funds run out or until Nov. 1.

Small business owners can apply for the grant at louisianamainstreet.com.

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