MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster was in Myrtle Beach Friday to promote the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program.
The event was held at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach on Crabtree Lane.
The grants for the Minority and Small Business Relief Program will range between $2,500 and $25,000. To qualify, a business or non-profit must employ no more than 25 people, be physically located in South Carolina, and must be in operation from Sept. 13, 2019, to present.
In addition, the business must demonstrate a financial or operational impact due to COVID-19.
Shaun Cox attended the governors event. Cox said everyday, she’s fighting to keep her company ‘Pivotal Health Solutions’ afloat.
The company has been providing behavioral and health services for families across the area for two years. Cox said right when the company started getting momentum, the pandemic hit and her company took a financial hit.
And for the last eight months, she’s said things have just been tough, trying to pay operating expenses while ensuring her staff members are also compensated.
“I just wanted to make sure my staff were able to be paid and take care of themselves and their families," Cox said. "But I didn’t want to close the [business] doors because we have 60 families that depend on us. It wasn’t an option for me to not be there for them.”
McMaster said these are the type of stories he’s been hearing from numerous businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to temporarily close.
“There are a lot of businesses that been hurt,” McMaster said.
And the impact is being felt statewide, including the city of Myrtle Beach.
“Some businesses are actually having to close their doors,” Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “We need to give them the help they need to stay in business and thrive.”
The pandemic impact on businesses is also hitting the tourism industry.
“Year to date, statewide hotel occupancy is still down 30%," said Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Karen Riordan.
McMaster is encouraging businesses to apply for the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program or the Non-Profit Relief Grant Program. Those eligible for the Minority and Small Business Relief grant could receive between $2,500 to $25,000. The Non-Profit Relief Grant Program grant ranges from $2,500 to $50,000.
Cox said she applied for the Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program, in the hopes of seeing some financial help soon. But she’s disappointed after hearing from a representative with the grant program how long it could take for her to receive the funds."
“According to what she said, I would not see anything, although I applied this week, until the end of December," Cox said. "That is a long ways away for a lot of us. A little bit of relief would be great towards the end of the year. When you’re struggling to get by week to week, the end of December is a pretty long time.”
The deadline to apply for the grant is Nov. 1. For more information on the grant program, click here.