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COVID-19 Economic Recovery

CARES Act Funding Explained

Recognizing that the coronavirus is defining its own path that affects our road to economic recovery, we are organizing a robust tool kit that can adapt to changing circumstances. Our goal is to create a more cohesive, stronger and more sustainable tourism economy than ever. Here is information on key programs to help you plan.   

Special session highlights:

  • $12 million, Utah Office of Tourism (UOT), supports the state's recovery through marketing and visitor access.
  • $25 million, Shop in Utah grant entices small business customers with incentives.
  • $5 million, Safe in Utah grant reimburses or funds safe small business operations.
  • $9 million, Cultural assistance grant benefits communities or artists affected by the pandemic.
  • $40 million, Commercial Rental Assistance (ComRent), provides rental relief to Utah small businesses.  Significant changes were made in the session to simplify access and expand benefits. 

Marketing and Visitor Access | $12 million 
Oversight: Utah Office of Tourism, Board of Tourism Development

The Legislature provided the UOT $12 million for high-impact state and regional marketing to support our industry and state’s overall economic recovery.

As we reduce COVID-19 cases and connect with our top audiences, the marketing will attract and drive much-needed and responsible visitation to our parks and gateway communities throughout the state.

To support the marketing effort and help the state manage our visitation safely and effectively, the bill enables the UOT to identify transportation and access solutions for our national parks as they adapt COVID safe practices. Regional and state public-private partnerships have the potential to fuel economic recovery.

As part of this CARES appropriation, the UOT is updating our traditional cooperative marketing program to create a major focus on COVID recovery. Grantees will receive 75% of their grants upfront to expedite their marketing strategies. 


The $12 million must be spent by Dec. 30. The Board of Tourism Development will review the strategy and approve marketing plans in monthly meetings through the rest of the year. 

Shop in Utah | $25 million 
Oversight: Governor’s Office of Economic Development 

We’re eager to help businesses and nonprofits access grants from the $25 million COVID-19 Impacted Business Grant Program. This program will encourage your customers or business partners to patronize your business.

The Shop in Utah program provides grants equal to COVID-19 revenue losses of the business or nonprofit. The grant requires applicants to offer customers discounts, special offers or financial incentives amounting to at least 50% of the grant amount. 

The legislation requires that 75% of the funds distributed before Aug. 31 must be awarded to small businesses (including sole proprietors, tax-exempt and tribal entities) of 250 or fewer full-time employees. 

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) will administer the Shop in Utah grant program. Guidelines are being written now. We will provide you information when we have specifics so that you will be prepared to move quickly to apply when grants open on Aug. 5. In the meantime, know that GOED intends to create a streamlined process that enables you to make the grants work quickly for your business recovery. It will be important to get your applications in early.  

June 29 to July 31: GOED organizes parameters of the grant program and secures legislative approval. Parameters will be defined in consultation with the Utah Office of Tourism, the Utah Tourism Industry Association and many other industries throughout the state that can apply for the grants. Watch for more information this month to help you prepare to submit successful grant applications. 

Aug. 5: Grant application process begins. It will be important to be prepared to submit your application as early as possible. With $25 million available for all COVID impacted businesses statewide, the money could be exhausted quickly. Grants will be distributed as quickly as possible after applications are received, with early grants likely being distributed by mid-August. 

Aug. 31: After Aug. 31, the requirement that 75% of grants be awarded to small businesses will no longer apply. All remaining funds from the $25 million appropriation can be distributed to businesses and nonprofits of any size. 

Safe in Utah | $5 million 
Oversight: Governor’s Office of Economic Development 

Whether you’ve taken a hit from COVID-19 expenses or are seeking assistance to responsibly comply with public health guidelines and still run your business, you may be eligible to receive either $100 per full-time employee or your actual expenses for following safety protocols, whichever is lower. More details to come as GOED organizes the grant application process and secures legislative approval.  

The Safe in Utah COVID-19 PPE Support Grant Program, like Shop in Utah, requires that 75% of the $5 million program must serve smaller businesses and nonprofits — those with fewer than 250 employees, through Aug. 31.


July: GOED organizes grant parameters and secures legislative approval. 

Aug. 5: Grant application process begins. Through Aug. 31, 75% of the funds must be distributed to small businesses or nonprofits (those with fewer than 250 employees).

Aug. 31: After this date, the requirement that 75% of the funds go to businesses or nonprofits of 250 employees or less no longer applies. 

Cultural Assistance | $9 million 
Oversight: Division of Arts and Museums, Utah Department of Heritage and Arts 

The COVID-19 Cultural Assistance Grant Program is for organizations that offer or propose to offer a cultural, artistic, botanical, recreational or zoological activity in this state that promotes travel and tourism in Utah and describes how the grant will benefit communities or artists affected by the pandemic.

Organizations must have three-year operational expenditures of $5 million or more per year to qualify for the grant program. 


July: Division of Arts and Museums, Department of Heritage and Arts, defines grant parameters and secures legislative approval. 

Aug. 5–Aug. 31: Initial grant application and distribution period.

Dec. 30: All grants must be distributed by this date.

ComRent | $40 million 
Oversight: Governor’s Office of Economic Development 

Following changes passed during the 2020 fifth legislative special session, GOED’s ComRent program has undergone revisions. As part of S.B. 3006, the COVID-19 Commercial Rental Assistance Program (ComRent) includes $40 million in commercial property rental assistance. GOED is currently administering the grants providing rental relief to Utah small businesses — including nonprofits, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons — that have lost revenue due to measures taken to minimize the public’s exposure to COVID-19.

The following is a list of recent changes.

  • Restructured the revenue loss percentage adjustments:

    • 30% to 44.9% revenue loss — up to 50% of the rent amount may be awarded per month.

    • 45%+ revenue loss — up to 100% of the rent amount may be awarded per month.

  • Removed the PPP award adjustment.

  • Extended from single month’s rent to two month’s rent.

  • Maximum award raised from $10,000 to $15,000.

  • Entities with multiple locations maximum award increased to $30,000 and $5,000 per location.

  • Adjusted small business definition from 100 employees maximum to 100 full-time employees (FTE is defined as 100 employees at 40 hours per week).

  • Removed unnecessary documentation requirements. 

There’s no need for companies to re-apply for the ComRent grant. Those who have already applied will be automatically reconsidered and adjusted checks will be mailed automatically.


July 1, 2020: Updated granted application will go live. Grant applications will be considered on a rolling basis until grant funds are exhausted.   

Additional Resources
COVID-19 Economic Recovery Legislation Summary
Utah Leads Together: A Plan for a Health and Economic Recovery Version 4.0 (PDF) — Released June 17, 2020
Utah's color-coded health guidance system
State of Utah Resources for Business
Utah Office of Tourism COVID-19 Industry Toolkit
Responsible travel information at
The state of Utah’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) information hub.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control Travel Health Notices and COVID 2019 Information for Travel 
If you’re worried about whether you may have COVID-19, please call the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707.
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