Kay Ivey mug new Nov. 2020

Ivey

Another $200 million in federal CARES Act money is being directed to Alabama small businesses, nonprofit groups and faith-based organizations impacted by COVID-19, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday.

“Revive Plus” is a second wave of funding for organizations with 50 or fewer employees. They can receive grants of up to $20,000.

“As the state has rolled out over $1 billion of the CARES Act monies to the individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, it became evident the group most overwhelmingly hurt during the pandemic were the small ‘mom and pop’ shops,” Ivey said in a written statement. “A second round of assistance through Revive Plus will ensure that the small business owners who have borne the brunt of the downed economy can be made as whole as possible.”

The first round of Revive grants, capped at $100 million, started in July and were successfully distributed by October. Ivey’s office said it worked with the Business Council of Alabama, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Alabama Restaurant Association to revisit the grant program given the continued financial stress businesses are facing.

The $200 million change announced Wednesday had to be approved by six legislative leaders, including Senate education budget committee chairman Arthur Orr, R-Decatur.

“This not only helps small businesses but also the cultural and nonprofit organizations that have been devastated by COVID-19,” Orr said. “The local public performing arts theatre (Princess Theatre in Decatur) had to cancel numerous shows because of the shutdown, and continued social distancing harms their ability to put people in seats. Restaurants also have been extremely hard hit due to seating limits.”

The CARES Act was approved by Congress in March and sent about $1.76 billion to Alabama. In late May, state lawmakers and Ivey eventually agreed on a distribution plan to various state agencies, organizations and in some cases, individuals.

Any CARES Act funds that aren’t spent by Dec. 30 have to be returned to Washington. Some state officials last month said there’s a chance that some money will be sent back, but they’re working hard to get it where it’s needed.

According to a dashboard updated daily by the Department of Finance, as of early this week, $876.7 million of the state’s $1.76 billion had been spent, leaving $881.4 million “unexpended.” But because many programs and entities are being reimbursed for COVID-related expenses, more money is going out every day.

The $200 million was money originally dedicated to state government and other grant programs that had unspent allocations, Ivey’s office said.

Entities may access grant information and the grant application through the Coronavirus Relief Fund website (crf.alabama.gov). The application period for the Revive Plus Grant Program will open at noon Monday and run through noon, Dec. 4.

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