Racine launching emergency fund to aid small businesses impacted by COVID-19 outbreak

City redirecting $250,000 in federal funding to new program

Downtown Racine
Downtown Racine. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The city of Racine will use $250,000 in federal funding to create a small business emergency fund for businesses impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, city leaders announced Friday.

According to a news release, eligible companies are those located in the city, have up to 10 employees and can show how COVID-19 has negatively impacted their business. They are able to apply for a forgivable loan up to $15,000 in the new program. Loans are targeting businesses that will retain one or more jobs by receiving them.

Applications for the forgivable loans are due by 4 p.m. Friday.

The funding is available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2020 Micro Fund Program.

Additional details about the emergency fund can be found on the city’s website.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Racine Mayor Cory Mason said in a statement. “They are also feeling the brunt of the economic downturn caused by this public health crisis. In this time of great uncertainty, our goal is to help small businesses stay open and keep people employed so that they can continue to provide for their families. Creating this emergency fund is one small thing the city can do proactively to help in this time of crisis.”

The city has taken other steps to combat the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. Property taxes originally due March 31 were pushed back to April 30. Parking meters in front of restaurants and bars providing take-out food orders are being turned into 15-minute load zones to provide customers with easier access to the businesses they’re supporting. All other metered spots are free but limited to two hours during regular hours through at least April 20.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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