Our communities are home to many small businesses, which provide jobs, services, goods and support to our economy. These employers are critical to Indiana's economic recovery, growth and vitality. While facing a global pandemic, small businesses struggled to survive. While most received some form of assistance to help, many are still facing difficulties. State leaders recognize that small businesses need additional support, and legislators recently passed a law investing $60 million to expand the Hoosier Hospitality Small Business Restart Grant program and another law implementing protections for Hoosier employers.
Hoosier Hospitality Small Business Restart Grants cover portions of business and payroll-related expenses. They are an extension of an existing grant program administered by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The program was initially started with federal COVID-19 relief dollars. Grants will be available to businesses with revenues totaling $10 million a year or less, and with fewer than 100 employees as of Dec. 31, 2019. Eligible recipients must show average monthly gross revenue loss of at least 30 percent and grants are not more than $50,000 for any individual business. To learn more and find additional information on other funds offered to Hoosier businesses, like Indiana Hospitality & Entertainment Grants available to support hotels, entertainment venues and promoters, visit backontrack.in.gov.
Another new law I voted in favor of provides civil liability protections related to COVID-19 for businesses, schools, health care entities and others. According to a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent businesses, 55% of Hoosier small businesses considered the possibility of pandemic-related legal action a concern. This protection does not apply to those accused of gross negligence or wanton or willful misconduct on the part of the organization or individual. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce backed this legislation and made it a priority, with its president and CEO saying, “Hoosier businesses that follow accepted COVID-19 safety guidelines should not be subject to litigation that could devastate their companies – many of which are already struggling financially. That’s why this bill is so important and comes as a great relief to businesses – particularly smaller businesses – across the state."
With more than 500,000 small businesses in Indiana employing more than 1 million Hoosiers, they need new tools to succeed. In addition to these laws, we can all support small businesses by shopping local. From salons to breweries, and greenhouses to bakeries, our communities are home to many small businesses ready to serve consumers.
State Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) represents House District 53,
which includes portions of Hancock and Madison counties.
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