Today, Governor Tate Reeves announced that applications for the Back to Business Mississippi grant program will be live tomorrow, Thursday, June 11 at noon and available on the website, backtobusinessms.org.

“We need to always remember: the pandemic was not just a public health emergency. It plunged our country into the greatest job loss since the Great Depression. The economic damage—and the human cost of it—has been incalculable. We need to do everything in our power to take care of our neighbors,” said Governor Tate Reeves at today’s press briefing.

“MDA’s top priority has been working diligently to put in motion the new Back to Business Mississippi grant program,” said John Rounsaville, interim director at MDA. “We are happy to announce that MDA began taking applications today to help businesses that suffered economic losses during COVID-19.”

Qualifying businesses with 50 employees or less could receive up to $25,000, depending on their expenses during the pandemic. Eligible expenses under the grant program include mortgage interest, rent, payroll, utilities, and other pandemic-related expenses. Under the CARES Act, the grant cannot cover lost revenue.

Small business owners can find a list of eligibility guidelines on the Back to Business Mississippi website, as well as rules, regulations, and a list of FAQs.

Governor Reeves also announced two new executive orders to continue flattening the curve while reopening our state’s economy—one extending the Safe Return order an additional two weeks, and one getting all government employees back to work.

“I also want to announce a few changes to our Safe Return order. As a reminder, these should not be taken as a signal that the risk is gone. COVID-19 is still here, still deadly, still contagious. It is purely a recognition of the costs of continued shutdowns and heavy regulation,” said Governor Reeves.

Consulting with our state health experts on his measured and strategic response plan, the Governor has extended the Safe Return order until Monday, June 29, 2020 at 8:00 AM with a few new amendments. Under the executive order, the limitation on restaurants and bars that serve alcohol must close to the public by 10:00 PM is lifted.

Gyms and fitness centers are also allowed to increase the number of customers to 50% of maximum capacity, and outdoor and indoor arenas can open under social distancing restrictions such as limiting seating capacity to 25% and following guidelines for business operations under Executive Order No. 1492.

The other executive order sunsets administrative leave for state, local, and municipal government employees set under Executive Orders 1458 and 1460 to end on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Last month, the Governor signed Executive Order No. 1484 directing government employers to begin the process of safely returning all employees back to work.

Governor Reeves announced the grant program applications and latest executive orders at his daily press briefing today, which you can view live on our Facebook page here.

You can view the signed executive orders here: Executive Order No. 1495Executive Order No. 1496. They will also be available on our website at governorreeves.ms.gov/covid-19/.