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Michigan COVID relief grant will help Flushing owner fully staff restaurant when reopening on Feb. 1

Mid-Michigan small businesses taking advantage of Michigan survival grant worth $55 million
Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 10:51 PM EST
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FLUSHING, Mich. (WJRT) - (01/27/2020) - Mid-Michigan small businesses are taking advantage of a Michigan survival grant worth $55 million, providing to those who need it most like retail stores, gyms, bowling alleys, and restaurants.

Business can get a maximum grant of $15,000 if it has been partially closed or $20,000 if it is fully closed in agreement with state coronavirus restrictions.

“It just helps us move forward. That’s the main thing because we have lost so much this year. I mean if you think about it, in the year 2020, we were closed more than we were open,” John Panos said.

Panos is the owner of Liberty Family Dining in Flushing.

He applied for the grant right when it opened on January 19 at 9:00 in the morning.

ABC12 reached out to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and they say they received more than 34,000 applications, which is about the same as the entire population of Bay City.

On Wednesday, Panos found out that he was one of the small businesses that will be getting the grant money.

“With this little bit of a cushion, I can staff accordingly like we were previously and make sure that everyone is getting their wages, and hopefully, it’s the end of this, and we can start rolling like we were before,” Panos said.

On February 1, restaurants like Liberty Family Dining will be allowed to reopen with new restrictions like 25% capacity and a 10:00 p.m. curfew.

Panos says the grant allows his to keep all his staff working their full shifts despite only having a quarter of the capacity.

In the meantime, he’ll continue looking out for additional support.

“I think anybody as a business owner that has an interest in a business should be looking out because you never know, and it’s good to have that cushion to get through these times,” Panos said.

Panos says he’s waiting to hear from several friends and family members who also own businesses to see if they were approved

The MEDC website says the grant selection process began on Monday, January 25, and funds will be dispersed between January 29 and February 28.

To visit the MEDC homepage, click here.

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