New Hampshire Announces “Main Street Relief Fund” for Small Businesses
By: Kristin A. Mendoza
On Friday, May 15, Governor Chris Sununu announced the creation of an initial $400 million ‘Main Street Relief Fund’ for New Hampshire small businesses. The fund’s purpose is to provide emergency financial relief to for-profit businesses having a principal place of business in New Hampshire with less than $20 million in revenue during 2019 and who are experiencing economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
Funds for the Main Street Relief Fund were made available through the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. Taking advantage of some lessons learned from the popular Paycheck Protection Program, which was also made available under the CARES Act, the Main Street Relief Fund will take a two-staged approach to allocating and expending emergency funding to New Hampshire small businesses. Businesses in the childcare, healthcare and agricultural sectors will not be eligible for participation in the Main Street Relief Fund as those businesses are or will be assisted through other relief programs.
Stage One – Prequalification Period Now through May 29th
The first stage of this program, which will run through May 29, 2020, requires prequalification. Every eligible New Hampshire small business seeking assistance through this fund is required to submit an online prequalification application by May 29.
The prequalification application requires applicants to disclose their 2019 gross receipts as well as their estimated 2020 gross receipts. In addition, applicants must disclose actual 2019 compensation paid in New Hampshire as well as all actual 2019 compensation paid everywhere (including New Hampshire) and must also disclose whether they have received federal CARES Act loans or grants, such as through the Paycheck Protection Program, or other COVID-related loans or grants. Submitting a prequalification application does not guarantee that a business will receive assistance through this program. However, failing to submit a prequalification application will make a small business ineligible to participate further in the program and it will not be able to receive funding.
Stage Two – Formal Application Period June 1st through June 8th
Once the first stage is concluded, the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) will review all information received and determine relief criteria that meets the needs of as many New Hampshire small businesses as possible. This evaluation period is intended to ensure that the initial $400 million in funding is adequate to meet the needs of those businesses seeking assistance as well as ensuring that small businesses who may not have had an opportunity to participate in other aid programs due to the “first come, first served” approach used by the Paycheck Protection Program and other aid programs, are not excluded from this new funding opportunity.
Specific criteria for funding through the Main Street Relief Fund is expected to be announced on June 1st, commencing a formal application process that will run through June 8, 2020. Formal applications will need to be submitted through an online portal administered by the NH Department of Revenue Administration (DRA). Once the application period closes, DRA will begin processing relief payment. Once the formal application period has been concluded on June 8th, the State anticipates releasing funds to small businesses on or about June 15th.
If your small business is continuing to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and meets the initial eligibility criteria, consider submitting a prequalification application before the May 29, 2020 deadline.
The COVID-19 crisis is rapidly evolving and requiring businesses to adapt quickly to legal, regulatory, economic, and community impacts. Our business law team is monitoring these developments in real time and we’re here to support and assist you as needed. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be helpful to you.
To learn more visit our Coronavirus Legal Response Team webpage.