Governor Ducey Announces Resources To Support Small Businesses, Business Recruitment And Hospitality Industry

PHOENIX⁠ — Arizona’s small businesses and hospitality sector have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with thousands of jobs lost since March. To provide a boost to these critical sectors and the Arizonans they employ, Governor Ducey today announced $7 million to support economic recovery efforts.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Arizona Department of Health Services has worked closely with the hospitality and tourism industry to provide public health guidance intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 and enable operations to continue safely. The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) has worked closely with state and national partners to provide up-to-date health and safety information to travelers and the tourism industry. 

“In Arizona, we’ve shown that mitigation measures work and can help our business operate safely — with public health the top priority,” said Governor Ducey. “Thousands of Arizonans employed by the hospitality industry have been impacted and displaced by this pandemic, and we continue to fight for them. Likewise, we know many small businesses are facing incredible challenges. As we make sure Arizonans have access to the social safety net, we also want to give them the opportunity to work. Today’s funding will protect livelihoods, highlight the robust mitigation measures Arizona has put in place, and keep our economy moving forward.”

The funding includes:

  • $3 million for the AOT to put toward a strategic recovery plan, promoting safe meeting and business travel, and working with hotels, restaurants, attractions and destination marketing organizations to help connect visitors to our rural, urban and tribal communities;
  • $1 million for the AOT to strengthen domestic marketing campaigns, targeting residents of nearby states including, but not limited to, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, California, and New Mexico, who can drive to Arizona to safely visit; 
  • $1 million for the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) to connect with businesses that can benefit from safely expanding or relocating in Arizona; 
  • $1 million for the ACA to provide capital funding for Arizona small businesses and entrepreneurs, further encouraging economic development amid the pandemic; and
  • $ 1 million for local chambers of commerce to implement programs that accelerate local economic recovery related to COVID-19.

Today’s funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars and is being allocated by the state. The funding for local chambers of commerce comes from the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, established in March through a bipartisan state budget agreement that added $50 million for Arizona’s COVID-19 response.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Arizona Department of Economic Security has distributed more than $11 billion in unemployment benefits to Arizonans. 

In July, the Governor announced $600,000 to fund the launch of Arizona Small Business Association’s Live Local program, training small businesses to find and navigate resources available during COVID-19, helping them build relationships within their communities, providing mentoring and internship programs, and more.

In August, Governor Ducey dedicated rent and mortgage assistance for Arizona small businesses required to pause operations due to the pandemic. Through a partnership with the Local First Arizona Foundation, the Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant program assisted struggling small businesses in meeting their rent or mortgage obligations, with a focus on those most in need and without access to other resources.

View the steps AOT has taken to address COVID-19’s impact to tourism in Arizona HERE.

View ACA’s resources for businesses affected by COVID-19 HERE.