Shawnee staff, local chamber offer Q-and-A on economic recovery assistance program

Shawnee small businesses that were deemed non-essential and were negatively impacted during the stay-at-home orders this spring may be eligible for the city's new economic recovery assistance program. The city begins receiving applications today. File photo of Sancho Streetside and Transport Brewery downtown.

Shawnee begins accepting applications this week from small businesses for the city’s new economic recovery assistance program.

Lauren Grashoff, city planner, and the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual question-and-answer session on Thursday for small local businesses to ask questions and learn more information.

Designed to provide financial relief and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns that began in mid-March, the Shawnee Economic Recovery Assistance program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 in lease/rent/mortgage assistance for eligible businesses that apply — specifically, non-essential businesses that were required to shut down during the stay-at-home orders that began in March.

Shawnee created the program after it received federal funding from the CARES Act and allocated $112,000 of federal dollars with a city match to support it, bringing the total funding support to $224,000. Repayment of the grant is not required.

The city will accept applications from Monday, Aug. 3 through Aug. 23. Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The city will notify businesses of their award status by 5 p.m. Sept. 14.

Because the program receives federal support, Shawnee and participating businesses must follow certain restrictions and guidelines. For instance, the funds can only be used to help with rent or mortgage for March through May, and cannot be applied to past due rent/mortgage, late fees or penalties.

Businesses must also show that they were negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the economic shutdown. In general, these include but are not limited to:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars and other drinking establishments
  • Short-term lodging

Eligibility requirements:

  • 2-25 full-time employees or equivalent part-time employees (who work at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month) as of March 1
  • Non-essential business under stay-at-home orders or limited operations through May 26
  • Brick-and-mortar location in Shawnee
  • Must be currently operational with active city business license
  • Must demonstrate economic damages exceeding $2,000, excluding costs covered by insurance or other assistance

About 44 to 45 businesses could receive up to $5,000 of the funds. Grashoff said the city will reopen additional grant cycles if funds remain in the program.

More details are on the city’s website, and the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce also has resources online. A video recording of the Q-and-A session can be viewed below.