Prince William County Approves ARPA Grants to Bolster Hospitality and Retail Businesses

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Provided by Prince William County Department of Economic Development

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved the Lift Up Lodging and Restore Retail grant programs from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development (PWCDED) today. The $10 million grant program, which will launch no later than Dec. 31, aims to cushion the ongoing crunch felt by hotels, restaurants, event spaces, and storefront retail businesses. Bookmark apply.pwcded.org for upcoming grant applications.

Funded from the County’s allotted $91.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) relief, the program opens $4 million in grants specifically for the Lift Up Lodging program and $6 million for the Restore Retail program. Each program will run until December 2022 or until the funds are exhausted.

“Targeting the retail and lodging industries is the most swift and effective means of getting much needed resources into the hands of the hardest hit businesses while maintaining a strong commercial real estate market,” said Christina Winn, executive director at PWCDED. “We are just getting started. These are the first of several PWCDED program recommendations for implementing an estimated $16 million in economic recovery initiatives.”

Following the 2020 shutdown, PWCDED used the federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to establish robust criteria and structure for COVID-19 related grant programs. One of those programs, the Small Business Relief Micro-Grant Program, provided immediate financial assistance to 640 small businesses, including 29 hotels.

“Small businesses that rely on visitor spending and foot traffic continue to struggle from the lasting negative economic impact of the public health emergency,” said Dan Cook, acting director at Prince William County Office of Tourism (OT). “As hotel occupancy levels begin to slowly stabilize toward pre-pandemic levels, we are excited to work with PWCDED to double down our support towards the recovery of our hospitality, experiential and retail businesses this holiday season.”

As part of the goal to maintain viable commercial space, the Lift Up Lodging program includes hotels, motels and inns, yet excludes short term rentals. The grant program offers $750 per guest room with a required minimum of 10 guest sleeping rooms.

The Restore Retail grant’s eligible businesses must either own or lease their facility and grant levels are determined by size of commercial space, with grants up to $25,000 based on a business’ square footage.

“These grants add to our community’s determination and resilience in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ann B. Wheeler, Chair, Board of County Supervisors. “The Board is committed to helping the hospitality and tourism industries bounce back to generate much-needed spending for our small business community.”

Funds received through the Lift Up Lodging and Restore Retail grant programs must be utilized for general operating expenses, such as payroll, rent, insurance or other operating cost; or adaptive costs related to COVID-19, such as the purchase of e-commerce equipment, website creation and/or upgrade of an online sales site. Staff from PWCDED and OT will review applicants and funds will be awarded through the Industrial Development Authority of Prince William County.

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