Virus Outbreak Maine

A woman wears a mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus while walking by a hardware store Sept. 9, 2020, in the York County city of Sanford, Maine.

(The Center Square) – Maine businesses with up to 250 employees are now eligible to apply for economic recovery funding the state administers, Gov. Janet Mills said.

The $95 million in funding was not used in Phase 1 of the Maine Economic Recovery grant program, which officials designated for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees, the governor's office said in a news release.

In Phase 2, the remaining funds will be made available to larger employers and nonprofits, as well as licensed child care and behavioral health providers.

"We are pleased to be able to move to Phase 2 of the grant program.," Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), said in the release. "We recognize that these awards won't fully replace losses, but we are aiming to help keep as many businesses viable as possible while they develop a path forward."

It's estimated that 3,000 more businesses and nonprofits will be eligible to apply. Under equitable division, each could receive roughly $31,000.

Mills said that up to $5 million of the $95 million will be allocated for Maine businesses in existence for less than one year, which were not eligible before. The Maine Technology Institute (MTI), which oversees many equity investments, grants, and services supporting the state's innovation economy, will review applications and financial awards in their seven sectors, the release reported.

Phase 2 applications are due by Oct. 23. Grant awards announcements are scheduled in late November.

According to the DECD, roughly 2,100 businesses and organizations submitted eligible applications in Phase 1. Nearly 90% of those were from small businesses and the rest were from nonprofits. About one-third of the small business applications were from hotels, restaurants and other hospitality merchants.

In early October, the DECD is expected to distribute $105 million in Phase 1 grants, each averaging about $45,000. Final eligibility and financial verification processes are underway.