COVID business recovery grant program launched

September 04, 2020

A new grant fund to help businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19 is now accepting applications.

Tuesday night, Norton City Manager Fred Ramey told city council that the $1.6 million program is about to get underway.

The regional grant application to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development has been approved and individual businesses can begin to submit funding requests, Ramey explained.

The program, launched by the Lenowisco Planning District Commission and its member localities, will serve businesses in Norton and the counties of Wise, Lee and Scott. The city will serve as the fiscal agent for the DHCD grant.

Council Tuesday authorized the city’s role and approved the grant program regulations.

Qualifying businesses will be able to apply for one-time grants up to $15,000 to offset business impacts caused by the pandemic.

Applicant businesses must be locally or regionally owned; have no more than 20 full-time or equivalent employees; must have been in operation before March 1 and experienced direct negative impacts; must not have already received federal CARES Act assistance for the same expenses; must provide local or regional services; must be current on all fees, permits and taxes as of March 1; and must have a valid local business license.

Acceptable uses for grant funds include office/business space and technology upgrades to meet virus-fighting needs; sanitation supplies; job training, classes and other activity to prepare employees to address virus safety needs and other needs.

Expenses that are not eligible include payroll offsets, relief from taxes, daily operating costs, facility or equipment maintenance, overdue mortgage payments or costs of franchise businesses that are not locally owned and operated.

For more information, contact the planning district at 276/431-2206, email to or visit and click on the Regional Small Business Assistance Recovery Program link.