Federal funding is available to local governments under The State and Local Funds Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to help industries that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. When seeking aid for impacted industries, applicants for SLFRF funding should do the following two things.
First, one must designate an impacted industry. In other words, an applicant for SLFRF funding must demonstrate how the industry in question was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. How broadly or narrowly defined an industry is to be is the decision of the applicant. However, the Final Rule guidelines published by The Department of the Treasury encourage narrow and precise industries in applications.
There are two routes for defining and demonstrating an impacted industry for SLFRF funding:
- Automatic Qualification
- any industry in travel, tourism, or hospitality, is automatically considered to be “impacted” according to the Final Rule
- Demonstrable Qualification (for industries outside those listed above)
- The industry experienced at least 8% employment loss from pre-pandemic levels
- The industry is experiencing comparable or worse economic impacts as the national tourism, travel, and hospitality industries, as of the publication of the Final Rule, based on economic indicators or qualitative data
Second, one must provide eligible aid for the impacted industry in question. SLFRF aid to impacted industries may only be provided to businesses, attractions, or Tribal development districts that were operating prior to the pandemic and affected by required closures and other efforts to curb the pandemic. Within industries, aid should be available to all businesses to avoid conflicts of interest, and preferably used for operational costs (such as payroll) before other business expenses.
Some enumerated projects under the Final Rule include:
- Aid to mitigate financial hardship (such as supporting payroll costs, lost pay and benefits for returning employees, support of operations and maintenance of existing equipment and facilities)
- Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to support business planning
- COVID-19 mitigation and infection prevention measures
Other projects can be pursued by following the Framework for Eligible Uses Beyond Those Enumerated in the Final Rule.