Gov. announces launch of grant program website & more during Friday’s briefing

Governor Tate Reeves made several important announcements during his daily press briefing. 

He opened by stating that, while an application is not yet available, a website has been launched to help businesses prepare for the administration of the ‘Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program’. According to a news release, backtobusinessms.org outlines “eligibility requirements and paperwork to compile to get access to the program” which will provide grants of up to $25,000 to Mississippi small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The team at MDA is reviewing the competitive bids to administer these funds—those were due today—and should have all the details out by the evening. Then they can put out the application as soon as next week if all goes according to plans,” Governor Reeves said.

The $240 million program is the result of a bill passed by the legislature allocating $300 million of Mississippi’s CARES Act funding for small business relief.

The other $60 million will be administered in the form of $2,000 checks to businesses that were forced to shut down by government order – hairstylists, fitness centers, and some restaurants.

Governor Reeves also announced the extension of an executive order that implements additional social distancing guidelines in hotspot areas of Mississippi until June 8th. The order has been amended to include Wayne County while also dropping Attala, Leake, Scott, and Newton Counties. 

The counties included in the order now include: Holmes, Jasper, Neshoba, Lauderdale, & Wayne

As the pandemic continues, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency continues to push out PPE to healthcare facilities and residents across the state. Mississippi has over $900 million of CARES Act funding remaining, and during today’s press briefing, the Governor stated that he’ll ask lawmakers to appropriate a “significant amount of money” for the PPE that has already been purchased and the PPE that will be purchased in preparation for a potential resurgence of the virus. 

Also, when asked about when DMVs across the state will open, the Governor said that they will announce a plan early next week.

Monday, the new ‘Safe Return’ order will take effect. Ahead of that, Governor Reeves preached personal responsibility as all Mississippi businesses that remain closed will be able to reopen. 

“The risk is still very real. Even as businesses reopen and people begin to reconnect, we must stay smart. We must stay sharp. Take care of yourselves and take care of your loved ones. Open for businesses does not mean risk-free. We all need an extra measure of personal responsibility as we move into the summer months,” he said.

For a list of guidelines that businesses must follow during the reopening process, click here. 

You can watch today’s briefing below: