Tybee helping businesses with COVID-19 pandemic recovery grants

Tybee helping businesses with COVID-19 pandemic recovery grants

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - For more than a month the City of Tybee gave local businesses the opportunity to apply for a recovery grant to help them through the challenges COVID-19 has created.

The city says 34 businesses applied and 29 were eligible. Business owners say because of this extra money they were able to stay afloat during the hardest time they’ve been through.

The Business Recovery Grant was an idea the city quickly pulled together to offer assistance to the local businesses on the island.

“We were very happy with the way the Business Recovery Grant was used on Tybee,” said Michelle Owens.

Michelle Owens is the Executive Director of the Tybee Island Development Authority/Main Street Program. She says the program met their expectations.

“We ended up giving out about $14,000 to 29 businesses and I would say about 65 percent of that went toward rent and utilities.”

The $500 grant was also used for specific things such as mortgages and supplies.

"We got that direct feedback from businesses that if it wasn't for that little bit of money, even though it was a small amount, they may not have been able to make it as easy as they have been."

Owens says the money they had available could've been split for up to 40 businesses. Because they didn't reach that amount they do have about $6,000 left over to put back into the facade grant.

"There's still some money left in that fund, so that if businesses still wanted to apply for signage or landscaping or painting or some other type of exterior improvement we still have money to do that as well as we go forward in the year."

Businesses on Tybee express their thanks to the city. One says, quote, “I appreciate all Tybee does for its residents and small business owners.”

"We are hoping that by doing that we supported our businesses in that they feel like they can rely on the City of Tybee in tough times."

The city has also spent the last few weeks giving out masks to local businesses. So far, Owens says they’ve given out nearly 4,000 free masks.

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