Moulton and Driscoll Announce Federal Coronavirus Relief Grant that Will Support an Estimated 374 New Jobs in Salem
SALEM, Mass. — Representative Seth Moulton and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll today announced the City of Salem has secured a $662,922 federal Economic Development Administration grant that will help the city recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The city will use the grant to fund technical assistance for small businesses in the tourism industry, to create a visitor marketing campaign, and to host alternative events programming. The city will also use the grant to build an economic diversification strategy that will help the city identify promising industries and recruit new businesses based on economic trends in the region.
“So much of downtown Salem’s economic success depends on people visiting us, eating at our restaurants, and staying at our hotels. With Americans uniting to fight the virus and President Biden leading the way, I’m confident the day that we can get back to that way of life will come soon,” Rep. Seth Moulton said. “This grant will help us not only recover from the pandemic but explore new, innovative ways to do business in Salem, so we emerge from this stronger and better able to weather hits to the economy down the road.”
Mayor Kim Driscoll said, "This investment will be key to helping many of our existing small businesses, especially in our hard-hit tourism and hospitality sectors. It also provides funds to assist us in strategies to continue growing the diversity of our local economy. This major grant award will create hundreds of new jobs, attract private capital, and advance greater economic resiliency and recovery for our community. I am extremely grateful to our federal delegation for their support, and especially to Congressman Moultonand his staff, who were instrumental in assisting our Economic Recovery Task Force as they pursued this highly competitive funding opportunity. Thanks to their efforts, this EDA investment will not only provide short-term help to our local and regional economy, but also longer-term assistance for our ongoing post-pandemic recovery."
The Economic Development Administration estimates the federal investment will create 374 new jobs in the greater Salem area, attract private investment to Salem, and make the region more economically resilient. The project will affect two Economic Opportunity Zones, federally-designated areas in communities across the country where developers and business owners receive tax incentives for new development or relocating.
The money is made possible by the CARES Act, the first pandemic relief bill. The CARES Act supplied the Economic Development Administration with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic.
According to the U.S. Travel Association and US Department of Labor data, 39 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic came in the leisure and hospitality sector. As of February, the unemployment rate in the industry is 16 percent, which is three times higher than the overall unemployment rate.
The National Restaurant Association recently reported 110,000 restaurants nationwide closed in 2020, 3.1 million restaurant workers are out of work, and restaurants have collectively lost $240 billion in revenue.
Concert venues, museums, wedding venues and event spaces have borne a large brunt of the pandemic’s economic loss. US Labor Department datashow the arts, entertainment and recreation industry lost 800,000 jobs in the last year.
Moulton cosponsored the CARES Act, and the House of Representatives passed it on July 17, 2019. The relief bill languished in the Senate for months. Despite advocacy from Moulton and Driscoll, mayors, governors, members of Congress, unemployed Americans, small business owners, health care workers and nonprofit leaders, former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not bring the bill up for a vote until March 2020. It became law on March 27, 2020.