State grant program helps businesses affected by COVID-19

By LEW K. COHN, Inquirer Editor

A new grant program through the Office of the Governor could provide a one-time grant of up to $20,000 each to local businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The Texas Travel Industry Recovery (TTIR) grant program began accepting applications on Wednesday, July 6, and while its primary impact will be on the tourism, travel, and hospitality industry, there are a number of businesses in Gonzales that could be helped.

“Because of the name of the grant, some companies might not realize they are eligible to apply,” said Jennifer Kolbe, executive director of the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation. “The Gonzales Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) encourages all eligible institutions impacted by COVID-19 to apply for these funds.”

Industries eligible for TIIR assistance include arts, entertainment and recreation; restaurant services and drinking places; accommodation for travellers; RV parks and recreation camps; organization and reservation of travelers; organizers of conventions and trade fairs; breweries; cellars; and distilleries.

As COVID-19 began to spread in Texas in mid-to-late March 2020, many businesses — especially small ones focused on the service industry — found themselves forced to close for weeks due to concerns about the spread. of the virus. . Kolbe said it had a colossal impact on Gonzales’ business community and led economic development officials to look for ways to soften the blow.

“It’s fair to say that we were all taken by surprise by the impact of the business closing,” Kolbe said. “Gonzales, through GEDC, was one of the first economic development corporations in the region to develop and roll out a grant program focused on businesses with fewer than 25 employees. This action has helped many of the businesses we love to patronize today survive and minimized the loss of property and sales tax revenue.

“This new round of funding through the Texas Travel Industry Recovery Grant Program can help them strengthen their financial position and prepare for any future pandemics or disasters.”

The TTIR program will award a one-time grant of up to $20,000 to eligible Texas businesses. Applications will be accepted in phases by industry group. Below is a list of application deadlines, based on the companies’ NAICS code:

• Category 1 – July 6-31, 2022:

NAICS 312120, 312130, 312140, 5615, 561920 and 7212: Examples of these codes include distilleries, brewers, winemakers and travel agencies.

• Category 2 – August 1 to 21, 2022:

NAICS 71: Examples of these include performing arts companies, musical groups, sports teams as well as promoters, managers, freelance writers and artists.

• Category 3 – August 22-September 11, 2022:

NAICS 7211: Examples of these are hotels, hotel-casinos, bed and breakfasts and inns.

• Category 4 – Sept. 12-Oct. 2, 2022:

NAICS 722: For example, special food services, mobile food services, restaurants, cafeterias, grill buffets, buffets and snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars.

• Category 5 – If funds remain after the first four phases, a fifth phase will review all unfunded applications to award the remaining funds.

The Texas Economic Development & Tourism Office will host a series of webinars for specific industry groups to provide more information and answer questions about the program and the application process.

To register for the webinars and for eligibility and grant application details, deadlines, and more, go to https://ttir.gov.texas.gov/Home/Signup.

Corina C. Butler