Arkansas Coronavirus Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Application Window Open

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism's Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program opened for applications on Monday, November 16, and will continue taking applications under November 25. Eligible hospitality, travel, recreation, and personal care businesses in Arkansas should apply.

Where the Arkansas Ready for Business Grants earlier this year cast a broad net in helping a swathe of Arkansas businesses reopen safely, this new Business Interruption Grant program targets the industries hardest-hit by the coronavirus epidemic: personal care, tourism, travel, recreation, hospitality, and related industries. These grants can cover eligible expenses, generally direct operating expenses including COVID-19 mitigation costs. Awards will be based on eligible expenses and taking into account the applicant's decrease in business activity and other factors. Generally the decrease in business activity will be determined based on the decrease in sales tax reports for 2020 compared with 2019.

The Business Interruption Grant homepage has detailed instructions and guidance and also a link to the application portal. The grants do require documentation to verify eligible expenses (receipts, etc.), which could prove to be significant red tape for applicants. (It would be prudent to apply days before the deadline in case there are any issues with an application.) The program is governed by administrative rules that were promulgated in October.

Funding for the grants is from $50 million of CARES Act federal aid. Once all the applications are accepted, the monies will be divided proportionately among applicants. The grants are not first come first served.

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