by Scott McClallen
The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) are giving out $3 million in weatherization grants to help some small businesses expand outdoor capacity during winter.
Eligible businesses may apply to receive between $1,000 and $10,000 in funding for weatherized, temporary outdoor facilities, while eligible municipalities and local organizations may apply to receive up to $15,000.
The funding is available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“There’s no question that these weatherization grants are going to make a real difference for Michigan’s small businesses this winter,” SBAM President Brian Calley said in a statement.
“Fully utilizing outdoor seating and capacity has been critical to businesses across the state in their efforts to operate safely through this COVID-19 pandemic. And with winter weather diminishing that capacity, providing businesses with the assistance they need to expand and weatherize their outdoor capacity is an important way to help small businesses stay afloat but keep everyone safe this winter.”
In September, the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) estimated 4,000 restaurants, or 22% of those in the state, likely won’t survive past February due to a combination of state-mandated restrictions related to COVID-19 and losing outdoor seating during the late fall and winter seasons.
“We are proud to continue to partner with SBAM to provide our small businesses with resources to protect their employees, customers and communities from the spread of COVID-19,” LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin said in a statement.
“Throughout the pandemic, Michigan’s small businesses have done their part to keep our economy open by following proper safety regulations. These federal grants will help them fund temporary outdoor facilities and increase customer capacity while ensuring their workplaces are safe during our cold winter ahead.”
Commercial firms and nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees in the following industries are eligible to apply:
- Restaurants and bars
- Banquet centers
- Retail stores
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Local governments, including cities, townships, villages, and counties that provide common space for businesses
- Commercial property owners who provide shared areas for tenants
Michigan-based business owners and other eligible applicants can use the grant funds to construct temporary structures such as canopies and igloos or purchase portable heaters, outdoor furniture and tableware, cooking equipment, and other related safety and security upgrades to increase outdoor capacity for carryout and delivery services.
– – –
Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.