148 small businesses in Macomb County to receive ‘relief grants’ amid mandatory closures

Macomb County offers financial support to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic

Macomb County is awarding relief grants to 148 small businesses in the county to help mitigate any financial impact caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Related: Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand today

Macomb County Planning & Economic Development earlier announced plans to assist 90 to 150 small businesses in the county.

Officials say the funds will help the non-essential businesses to “stay afloat” during mandatory closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Macomb County was awarded $800,000 to distribute among small businesses from the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, officials said. First State Bank also donated $100,000 to the county. Macomb County donated $30,000 to the cause for a total of $930,000 to aid small businesses.

“So many of our businesses, for no fault of their own, were impacted suddenly by the COVID-19 crisis. We organized an application process, fairly quickly, to disburse these relief funds to our businesses,” said Vicky Rad, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development. “We know this will provide some financial relief to many and we will continue to offer guidance and assistance to any business looking for help.”

Officials say that out of 2,000 applications from local businesses, first priority was given to small businesses directly affected by Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order -- closing all businesses non-essential to protecting or sustaining life.

Related: Coronavirus in Michigan: A timeline of closures, event bans, stay-at-home orders

Grant applications were reviewed by a panel of business and institutional representatives from Macomb County. Officials listed the following criteria for deciding which small businesses would receive relief grants: type of business; geographical location and the significance of the business to that specific area; the impact the grant dollars would have on helping the business; how the grant dollars will be used; completeness of the applications and whether requested financial documentation was provided.

The county did not publicly announce the list of grant recipients.

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Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.