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Stamford aims to help about 200 small businesses hurt by COVID losses through $ 1.5M grant program

STAMFORD – Mayor Caroline Simmons made a case to the Board of Finance this week for using $ 1.5 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act money to create a grant program for small businesses that have taken a financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aid would go to about 200 businesses in the form of grants of up to $ 7,500, according to a proposal the Simmons administration submitted to the boards of Finance and Representatives. On Thursday, the finance board unanimously approved Simmons’ request to allocate the $ 1.5 million. City representatives are expected to take up the matter in the coming weeks.

“Many businesses at the height of the pandemic were forced to shut down at no fault of their own and made enormous sacrifices in order to keep both their workforce and customers safe and to really save lives,” Simmons told the board. “And because of that forced shutdown, many businesses had to take on enormous debt just to be able to pay the bills and keep the lights on.”

Now, federal Paycheck Protection Program loans “have dried up,” Simmons said, “and many businesses are still struggling to make ends meet.”

She told the board that during a roundtable discussion the city recently held, restaurant owners said they were grappling with debt and loan repayments, rising supply costs and other challenges.

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