With a first wave of assistance to small businesses mostly dispursed, Honolulu is allocating a second allotment of $25 million to the Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund.

Eligible businesses that can demonstrate hardship can receive grants up to $10,000.

IHOP Waikiki business was open for business with open doors during Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. April 13, 2020.
The city can reimburse the cost of modifying a business for social distancing.  Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

The $50 million comes out of the $387 million Honolulu received through the Coronavirus Relief Act of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act.

Since the launch of the program on May 18, over 5,000 applications have been received and over $20 million disbursed, the city said in a news release. Another $5 million is expected to be used up this week.

The funds are being distributed by four partner credit unions: Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Hawaii State Federal Credit Union, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union, and Honolulu Federal Credit Union.

At first, the program was only open to businesses on Oahu that have 30 or fewer employees or revenues of less than $1 million annually. They were eligible if they had a commercial address.

Going forward, the threshold of eligible businesses will be increased to fifty or fewer employees and less than $2 million in gross annual revenue to allow more small businesses to apply, the city said. Farmers are also eligible with “appropriate proof of field of cultivation,” the city said.

The funds are issued on a reimbursement basis and can be spent on rent, utilities and payroll as well as costs incurred to modify businesses for social distancing, such as dividers between cash registers.

“This added funding may be what it takes to keep businesses from shutting down their doors for good and if not that, relieves a huge burden,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement.

The mayor said small businesses must make changes necessary to keep the community safe.

“Whether it’s increasing physical distance between employees and customers, installing Plexiglas, or implementing additional sanitation measures, we know this next tranche of money will go a long way at providing everyone on Oahu with a much safer future,” he said.

The qualifications can be found on the OneOahu.org site starting Wednesday at 12 p.m.

Only businesses that operate from a physical commercial operation qualify. Businesses with P.O Boxes, “care of” addresses or residential addresses do not qualify. The program is also open to 501(c)(3) and 501c)(19) non-profit organizations. Businesses that have already received assistance through the city’s first round of small business relief cannot apply a second time, the city said.

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