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Grant program will help Ontario County tourism businesses affected by pandemic

Ontario County Economic Development Corporation and Finger Lakes Visitors Connection have established a grant program for tourism businesses that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Visit Ontario COVID Relief program will provide grants to small businesses to create new jobs, restore positions that have been cut or save jobs that are in danger. The money is part of a million dollars in Community Development Block Grant funds made available to the county under the federal CARES Act.

Ontario County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, Michael Manikowski said, “Tourism and hospitality businesses are an important part of Ontario County’s economy. Pre-pandemic, the industry supported 4,829 full-time jobs and generated $207 million in traveler spending annually. Now, they need our help in restoring and creating new jobs to get back to – and hopefully exceed – these numbers. That’s why we created this fund. And we are proud being one of the first counties in New York State to do so.”

Finger Lakes Visitors Connection President & CEO, Valerie Knoblauch said, “Tourism and hospitality has been one of the hardest hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. From the beginning, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection looked for opportunities to support Ontario County’s small businesses. The “Visit Ontario County COVID Relief Program” is another way we can help our residents and businesses get back on their feet and provide the high-quality experience Ontario County visitors have come to know and love.”

The “Visit Ontario County COVID Relief Program” will provide grants to eligible businesses to support customer and staff safety, improve, and expand business operations, and improve business resiliency. Additional information about the Program, including eligibility details and community meetings, is available at: