State Offers $100M in Covid-19 Relief Funds for Small Businesses

A joint emergency board of the Oregon Legislature tasked with allocating federal coronavirus relief funds is making $100 million available for a new program providing financial assistance to small businesses and commercial landlords impacted by the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.

The program offers grants of up to $100,000 (per tenant) to building owners to cover outstanding lease payments from small business tenants that are behind on rent due to Covid-19.

The landlord must agree not to evict the tenant for six months and waive any rights to collect outstanding penalties or interest, or enforce eviction clauses related to the delinquent lease payments between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021.

“This new funding comes at a critical time to bring small businesses out of accumulated debt caused by the pandemic,” Business Oregon Interim Director Chris Cummings said in a press release.

“With improving Covid-19 numbers and us all doing our part to curb the spread, we can get businesses operating again. This program lets them get going with a little less weight on their shoulders.”

The program is intended to help small business tenants that have 100 or fewer employees. The agreement will include additional protections for tenants, such as non-eviction clauses, and a waiver of penalties and interest.

The program will open for applications on Monday, March 8. Both the business tenant and property owner will need to participate in the application process and sign the grant agreement, but the initial application needs to be completed by the landlord.

The application period will be open for two weeks, with eligible submissions chosen by a lottery system that will also ensure geographic distribution across all regions of the state. The program is split into two rounds, with the first $50 million being allocated in the application period that opens next week.

The remaining funds will be used in an additional application period that opens in late April. Unsuccessful but still eligible applicants from the first round will automatically be considered in the second round, as will any new round two applicants.

This is the seventh Covid-specific program Business Oregon has implemented to help businesses navigate the impacts of the pandemic. The state says the emergency small business grant program alone has helped about 7,500 small businesses with $43 million in grants to help offset revenue impacts from Covid-19.

For more information and eligibility details, visit Business Oregon’s website.

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