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Arizona Bars Can Seek Rent and Mortgage Relief Through a New $10 Million Program

Bars can apply for the Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant starting at 10 a.m. on August 20.EXPAND
Bars can apply for the Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant starting at 10 a.m. on August 20.
Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona bars affected by pandemic-related closures can access relief funds through a new program.

The Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant is a partnership between the governor’s office and the Local First Arizona Foundation. All businesses impacted by Executive Order 2020-43 are eligible to apply; that includes not just bars but also nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing operators.

The program will begin accepting applications at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 20 (so, today), and will distribute $10 million in grants.

“The maximum award will be $25,000,” according to the LFA Foundation. “Grants will be prioritized for businesses that are most in need of the funding to meet their rent or mortgage obligations and do not have access to other financial support.”

To be eligible for the financial aid, businesses must have begun operation before January 1, 2020, must be renting or leasing a physical location, and must employ less than 50 people. Businesses can only apply for one grant, meaning businesses with multiple locations can’t apply for aid for each spot. If you're interested in applying, you'll need to gather mortgage statements, additional income source information, and attestations — all outlined here.

The Not Our Last Call Rally is also scheduled today for 1:30 p.m. at the Arizona State Capitol. The event is a protest by bar owners who feel they have been unfairly forced to close.

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A spokesperson for the LFA Foundation says the grant is not a response to the rally, noting that Governor Doug Ducey announced on August 13 that the grant was coming.

"Since March, Local First Arizona has been working around the clock to provide financial relief to small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic," LFA founder Kimber Lanning told Phoenix New Times. "Rent relief is an ask we heard loud and clear, and we are grateful to be working with the Governor's office to provide these critical funds to a variety of industries as quickly as possible."

For more information, see the Local First Arizona website or contact info@localfirstaz.com.

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