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Business and Economy

New Grant Program To Assist Maine Businesses Impacted by Canadian Border Closure

The state has launched a new program to help businesses along the Canadian border recover from the pandemic.

The grant program will offer $10 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to public-facing organizations and businesses that are open and located within 25 miles by driving of a border crossing with Canada.

Brandon McDonald, the Small Business Development Center director for the Northern Maine Development Commission, says with the U.S. border still closed for nonessential travel, the grants of up to $100,000 could help many small businesses survive over the next few months.

"This is huge for them, because maybe they only have one or two employees," he says. "So this helps to subsidize them, to keep the lights on. For a business like that, this money is going to be huge."

The Canadian government recently reopened its border to vaccinated Americans, but the American side remains closed until at least Aug. 21.

McDonald says federal programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program have helped many border businesses stay afloat without typical Canadian customers.

The new state program will also help charter transportation businesses across the state.