Mayor outlines new program aimed at helping small businesses on Oahu

Mayor Caldwell says that he is proposing for restaurants to open in June

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is launching a new program aimed at providing emergency grant relief to small businesses on Oahu as they’re slowly given the green light to reopen.

Retailers and shopping malls can reopen their doors on Oahu as early as Friday.

And Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he hopes to allow restaurants to fully reopen in early June.

The small business relief program, to be officially launched May 18, will initially be funded with $25 million in federal stimulus money. That could be replenished by another $25 million if needed.

Businesses with a physical address and 30 or fewer employees or an annual revenue of $1 million or less qualify for the grant relief.

They can get up to $10,000 for a number of expenses, including to cover the costs of physical distancing and other modifications needed to safely reopen, Caldwell said.

Details on eligibility and how to apply will be posted here.

Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, said the assistance could help some businesses on the brink stay afloat until the economy improves.

“If these local and small businesses go away, it will definitely change the fabric of the community,” she said. “Many of them are on their last lifeline,”

The city previously announced a $25 million program aimed at providing emergency aid to residents.

This story will be updated.

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