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Grant Program Aims to Help Local Businesses Stay Afloat During Pandemic

Local small businesses have until the end of the week to file for a grant that could help them retain their workforce during the pandemic.

The Alexandria/Arlington Emergency Layoff Aversion Assistance Program, a state-funded program, aims to save jobs in Alexandria City and Arlington County.

“[The program] will award 11 grants to local small businesses who require financial assistance in order to retain their workforce during the COVID-19 emergency,” the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce said in an email.

According to the Chamber, participation requires that business owners but businesses in Alexandria or Arlington with 250 or fewer employees. Business owners are required to fill out and submit an Emergency Layoff Aversion Assistance Program application.

Application requests can’t exceed $7,500 and smaller requests are encouraged.

“Decisions for funding approval will be made by March 30, 2020 at 5 p.m.,” the Chamber said. “Grants will be awarded to applicants who can save the largest number of jobs.”

The Arlington website noted that the funds can’t be used to directly pay the wages of employees. Wages are, instead, meant to fund other ways of maintaining business operations, like:

  • Hiring a cleaning/sanitization service.
  • The purchase of software/online programs that employees would need to use from home to support their work.
  • The purchase of remote access supplies, including laptop computers and/or smartphones, which the employees would need to use from home to support their work.
  • The purchase of an online sales platform to sell services virtually so that existing staff roles can be repurposed for order fulfillment.

The application deadline for the program is 5 p.m. on Friday (March 27).

Staff photo by James Cullum

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