A woman wears a mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus while walking by a hardware store, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in the York County city of Sanford, Maine. A recent uptick has been reported in the number of COVID-19 cases in York County, which has more than 3 times the state average of cases. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

More than 1,200 small businesses and nonprofits in Maine will learn Friday whether they won economic recovery grants with nearly $54 million in checks coming in mid-December, the state said.

This is the second round of grants using part of the $200 million in federal CARES Act funds that Gov. Janet Mills allocated for struggling businesses and nonprofits. This round added businesses and nonprofits that employ up to 25o people, licensed childcare and behavioral health organizations and organizations in their first year of operation.

The first round of grants to about 2,400 small businesses and nonprofits was paid out in early November. The state must use the CARES Act money by the end of December. Businesses and nonprofits can use the grant money to pay rent and utilities and to buy business-related equipment or personal protective equipment.

Of the grants, 1,107 went to businesses and 115 to nonprofits to total $53.6 million and averaged $43,000 per grant. The hospitality sector, particularly lodging and restaurants, represented the largest percentage of recipients, drawing 29 percent of the awards. About $7.4 million in grants will go to 193 businesses and nonprofits that are less than a year old.

Mills used the announcement to once again ask Congress and the president to provide more relief to Maine.

The awards were based on eligibility requirements. Those who applied but didn’t receive funds also will receive a letter that includes a justification for the denial, Mills said.

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Lori Valigra

Lori Valigra, senior reporter for economy and business, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...