9/23/20: NEW $40 MILLION STATE FUND OFFERS RELIEF FOR SMALL BUSINESSES CLOSED BECAUSE OF COVID-19.

Governor Roy Cooper plans to announce early next week the easing of some restrictions in place under Phase 2.5, which expires Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. See yesterday’s Beacon for news about a change in permitted capacity at outdoor venues, including sports stadiums.

A new $40 million relief fund announced yesterday by Governor Roy Cooper enables some small businesses that were closed from April through August because of COVID-19 to apply for assistance with fixed costs that they paid, such as rent and utilities.

The new N.C. Mortgage, Utility, and Rent Relief (MURR) program unveiled by the Governor offers eligible businesses up to $20,000 per business location for rent or mortgage interest and utility costs that they paid when they were closed between April 1, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2020.

Businesses must have paid these costs, and have evidence that they did, in order to receive relief payments, according to a description of the MURR program on the N.C. Dept. of Commerce website. Applications for MURR assistance, which is being administered by the N.C. DOC, may be submitted starting next week and will be evaluated on a first come, first serve basis.

Applicants will be limited to relief for two business locations, or a maximum of $40,000, according to the DOC website. To apply, a business must have fewer than 50 employees at a business location.     

For all of the important details, see: https://www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/disaster-recovery/mortgage-utility-and-rent-relief-murr-program

The following businesses are eligible to apply for MURR funds:

*Amusement parks

*Banquet halls with catering staff

*Bars, taverns, night clubs, cocktail lounges

*Bingo parlors

*Bowling alleys

*Dance halls

*Indoor fitness and recreation centers

*Indoor movie theaters

*Museums

Nonprofits are not eligible for assistance.

If you would like to apply, you will need to produce a recent federal tax return with the page showing your NAICS code assignment; your lease or mortgage agreement; and evidence of your payment of rent or of mortgage interest and your payment of utility (electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, telephone and internet service) expenses.

You also will need an Employer Identification Number and an N.C. Secretary of State ID Number, also known as an SOS ID. You may look up your SOS ID here: https://www.sosnc.gov/online_services/search/by_title/_Business_Registration

The Dept. of Commerce will host three educational webinars about the MURR program:

Thursday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 1 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 2, at 11 a.m.

You must register online at the MURR program website page above to participate in a webinar.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/23/20

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