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Rep. Tisdel: Relief will mitigate long-lasting effects of pandemic
RELEASE|January 27, 2022
Contact: Mark Tisdel

State Rep. Mark Tisdel and the Michigan House of Representatives today approved a plan to fund critical relief for workers and businesses across Michigan.

House Bill 5524 is a $184.6 million relief plan to help restaurants, fitness centers and other businesses hurt most by the pandemic. The plan also seeks to help health care professionals and other occupational license holders who weren’t allowed to work for part of the pandemic, while making more resources available for small businesses through community development investments.

“Dramatic upheaval from the pandemic has had long-lasting effects,” said Tisdel, of Rochester Hills. “Our plan will mitigate those effects by delivering relief to businesses in hard-hit sectors of the economy, as well as licensed professionals who lost work under pandemic orders.”

Highlights of the House plan include:

Helping restaurants. An estimated 3,000 have closed permanently since the pandemic began, and those still in business are chronically short-staffed. The plan provides funding to refund certain state fees charged to restaurants even though they were shut down by the governor’s orders, and adds $10 million to help restaurants train and certify employees to safely serve alcohol in accordance with certification guidelines.

Providing occupational fee relief. The state of Michigan requires licenses and charges fees to workers in several occupations — from health care to cosmetology to construction. People in many of these occupations were not allowed to work for portions of the pandemic, so the House plan would refund or prorate state fees accordingly.

Supporting tourism and entertainment. A $30 million grant program would help local convention and visitor bureaus critical to local economies. Movie theaters, which were just beginning to revive before the latest COVID surge crippled attendance again, would receive $18 million. Live entertainment venues also would receive additional support.

Strengthening health and fitness centers. Roughly a third of the centers in Michigan have closed permanently after state-ordered shutdowns of six months earlier in the pandemic. A $53 million hardship grant program would benefit an industry dedicated to improving the health of Michigan residents.

Bolstering community development. The House plan also provides $25 million for community development financial institutions to assist revitalization efforts and help small businesses.

The COVID relief would come in addition to a $409 million small-business relief plan signed into law in December 2021. Gov. Whitmer had vetoed previous business relief efforts during the pandemic.

HB 5524 earned broad, bipartisan support in the House and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

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