PUEBLO, Colo. — The City of Pueblo is lending a helping hands to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

On Monday, City Council approved the COVID-19 Emergency Business Loan and Grant Fund which is a five million dollar initiative that will help Pueblo small businesses keep their companies afloat during the pandemic.

“While this program will not make all of our small businesses whole, we hope that this use of the economic development funds can help fill the gaps that may occur and allow these businesses to get up and running as soon as possible once restrictions are relaxed.  We believe that this is a good use of these funds during this unprecedented economic crises,’’ Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar said.

The half-cent sales tax will provide funding. Businesses can apply for loans of up to $100,000 and a grant up to $20,000.

“Once the stay-at-home order becomes more relaxed, we want to make sure they have the adequate inventory for instance for their customers and they’re still able to maintain their space even with a mortgage payment or rent. So, that fund has opened up,” Mayor Gradisar said.

To apply click here and as of Thursday, the city had received more than 144 applications.