Detroit Making $3.1 Million Available To Small Businesses In Need During Pandemic

Businesses can begin applying Wednesday.

WWJ News
March 31, 2020 - 5:17 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) -- Help is on the way for small business owners in Detroit who are struggling as the city and state continue to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The city has established what is being called the COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will be able to provide grants to businesses that made less than $1 million in 2019 and had fewer than 50 employees.

The grants will range from $2,500 to $10,000, in a move that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was made to help businesses stay afloat when the pandemic is over.

"We've got a lot of small businesses in this town that when we come out of this pandemic, if we're going to be a vibrant city, we've got to save them, we've got to keep them going," Duggan said at a news conference in Eastern Market Tuesday. "And through no fault of their own, they've still got rent bills, they've still got utility bills, they've still got a range of costs and they could go under."

Duggan says $3.1 million in grants will be available for local businesses, which will be able to apply through the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. website -- degc.org -- beginning at midnight.

As the total number of known cases of COVID-19 in Detroit has surpassed 2,000, Duggan says that number will continue to grow, as FEMA has shipped 200,000 medical swabs to the city, which will greatly expand the city's testing capabilities. Detroit is the state's hardest hit area, with 2,080 total cases and 75 deaths, according to the state's most recently released numbers.

The city recently launched a drive-thru testing facility at the site of the former Michigan State Fairgrounds, near Woodward Avenue and 8 Mile Road. Since it launched on Friday, the site has tested close to 2,000 people there, with numbers increasing daily. Duggan says roughly 700 people were tested on Tuesday, and that number will continue to grow. 

The facility is a partnership between Wayne, Macomb and Oakland Counties, as well as multiple health systems. Duggan's original goal was to test about 400 people per day at the facility, but they are already exceeding that number and expect to expand even more when FEMA's shipment of swabs arrives.

 

Duggan also announced earlier this week the city has signed a contract to become one of the first cities in the U.S. to use rapid test kits, which will return positive results in about five minutes and negative results in less than 15 minutes. The city will have five testing machines and 5,000 testing kits to begin, and Duggan says the instant testing should be reserved for first responders and health workers.

With Detroit as the state's epicenter, Michigan's total number of COVID-19 cases again saw the largest single-day increase Monday, with the statewide total now sitting at 7,615 cases and 259 deaths.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. Stay tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 where we will remain live, local and committed to bringing you the latest information during this outbreak. >> LISTEN LIVE