Grants up to $20,000 will be available to arcades, bars and nightclubs, gyms and fitness centers and commercial boating operations under an expansion of Honolulu’s Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced on Monday.

An additional $24 million will be added to the fund, bringing the total to $175 million from the federal CARES Act, the city said. Applications will open at noon on Dec. 1, according to Ed Hawkins, the city’s economic development director. The grant is reimbursement-based, and the city requires receipts for pandemic-related expenses.

The funds are still not available to home-based businesses like wedding planners. The city chose to direct aid to brick-and-mortar businesses because the proprietors have to pay bills at their business as well as their home, which creates a “double burden,” Caldwell said. The mayor acknowledged that home-based businesses are suffering too.

They may apply to the individual Household Hardship Relief Fund, which can cover rent, utilities and child care. That $25 million fund has been slow to provide relief to its applicants. As of Nov. 10, only $11 million had been disbursed. Hawkins said he didn’t have an updated total when asked on Monday.

Limited funding meant the city had to make tough calls, Caldwell said.

“I feel bad,” he said. “I wish we had more.”

Information on the business relief program is available on

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