HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – $200 million was set aside from the state’s nearly $2 billion allotment of CARES Act funding for a program dedicated to helping businesses in need.
Alabama leaders opened the Revive Plus COVID Relief Program application portal on November 23, for eligible small businesses, non-profits and religious organizations that fit a specific criteria.
Pizzelle’s Confections at Huntsville’s Lowe Mill is one business that fit that criteria. They received the maximum grant of $20,000.
“We are definitely seeing business interruption as they call it with suppressed demand,” Pizzelle’s co-owner Caitlin Lyon said. “This is definitely in our 7.5 years, the most challenging year we’ve been through.”
She said her business was eligible because they have fewer than 50 employees, were fully operational at the time of the CARES Act Enactment in March, and have continued operating but are still experiencing loss in revenue.
“We are not doing dine-in, we are to go-only now. It’s just impacted sales and people aren’t coming out because the advice is stay home as much as you can,” she said.
Her business did receive an earlier loan to help in paying her employees, which could have made her ineligible for this grant, but because she could prove the Paycheck Protection Program loan did not cover losses she continued to endure, her business was still qualified, but as of now, she does not know if her business will even get loan forgiveness.
“We’ve spent that money, it was a huge help, but we are still in the dark about whether we will have that convert to a grant or if we’ll have to pay it back,” she said.
Receiving this new grant was crucial to ensuring she could continue paying her employees.
“It requires a lot of people to do what we do, and hours are increased during December since it’s our busiest month of the year. Now, that said, sales are still down almost 50% over last year,” she said.
Hundreds of businesses throughout the state have acquired a sum of money from this program, but only $23 million of the $200 million budget has been spent. This means there is still time for more businesses to apply before the December 4, deadline.
“I think they’re very motivated to make sure this money gets into the hands of businesses and nonprofits that need the help and I don’t know that many businesses that haven’t been severely impacted by the pandemic this year,” Lyon said.