The application period for the Haines Borough’s small business and nonprofit COVID-19 relief grants opened on June 25 and will remain open until 5 p.m. July 10.

As of Tuesday, the borough had received 24 applications, chief fiscal officer Jila Stuart said. She said so far, nearly all applications have come from businesses rather than nonprofits.

The borough’s program awards grants between $500 and$10,000 to businesses based on their 2019 borough sales tax returns, and to nonprofits based on revenues reported on their annual IRS 990 forms. To qualify, a business or nonprofit must demonstrate that it was economically hurt by the COVID-19 shutdowns and loss of business, and have 50 or fewer employees. The program is open to businesses licensed in Haines before March 1 and nonprofits that held sales tax-exempt cards as of that date.

Grant money must be spent by Dec. 30 and can be used to support operational costs including payroll, rent, taxes, utilities and personal protective equipment purchases.

Applicants are allowed to request grants up to the maximum listed for their income bracket, as detailed in a chart on the application form. For example, a business that reported between $100,001 and $200,000 in gross revenue in 2019 could apply for up to $3,000.

Stuart said funding requests from the 24 applicants total $83,500, just under 10% of the $850,000 in federal CARES Act funds the borough set aside for the program.

At past assembly meetings, members discussed the possibility of increasing award amounts if the total funding request comes in under the $850,000 initially allotted for the program. Amounts could also decrease if the borough receives more than $850,000 in funding requests.

Haines businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, according to the results of the Southeast Alaska Business Climate and COVID-19 Impacts Survey published by Southeast Conference last month. A total of 460 businesses from 23 Southeast communities responded to the survey, including 34 Haines businesses.

On average, businesses across Southeast said revenue was down 57% compared to this time last year. Businesses in Skagway, Haines and Ketchikan reported the greatest losses — 80%, 68% and 67% respectively.

The hardest-hit industries in terms of revenue losses were tourism, arts and food services. Tourism businesses reported laying off 1,200 workers across the region and canceling plans to hire an additional 2,155. Loss of cruise ships was cited as one of the main ways COVID-19 has impacted businesses. In Haines and Skagway, businesses cited the Canadian border closure as another significant impact.

The Haines Borough Assembly will have the opportunity to review the business and nonprofit grant program at its meeting on July 14.