Applications are now open for the $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program.

The program reimburses New York small businesses with grants of up to $50,000 for COVID-related expenses incurred between March 2020 and April 2021.

Grants will be awarded to small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations, with priority being given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses located in economically distressed communities.

More than 330,000 small and micro businesses are potentially eligible for this program, including 57 percent of the state's certified Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises.

"Small businesses are one of the most critical components of New York's economy and were disproportionately impacted by the economic devastation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "As we build New York back better than it was before, this program will help these small businesses -particularly those with socially or economically disadvantaged owners -regain an economic foothold so they can forge ahead toward a brighter, more prosperous future." 

The money can be used for;

  • Payroll costs
  • Commercial rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property
  • Payment of local property or school taxes
  • Insurance costs
  • Utility costs
  • Costs of personal protection equipment necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning cost
  • Other machinery or equipment costs
  • Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Business owners can apply at nysmallbusinessrecovery.com.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.