BOZEMAN — The American Rescue Plan Act included $22 million in projected funding for Gallatin County and $12.7 million for the city of Bozeman going towards economic recovery efforts.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana was in Bozeman on Wednesday to highlight the impacts COVID relief funding has brought Montanans.
The American Rescue Plan Act seeks to address the continued impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, public health, education, as well as state and local government.
It also includes support for local businesses, including those in downtown Bozeman.
“Overnight it was devastating. It was March 13. We knew at that moment it was just uncertainty,” said Matthew Beehler, general manager of the Rialto.
It was live music, crowds, and good times at the Rialto in downtown Bozeman until March 2020.
Beehler says the pandemic forced the concert hall and event space to close immediately, leaving the future uncertain for the business and employees.
But things are starting to look up for them.
On Wednesday morning, Tester and local leaders gathered to highlight how the American Rescue Plan has benefited small businesses across Gallatin County.
“The rescue plan provided $63 billion in assistance for small businesses like the one we’re standing in here today. Particularly in the hospitality and entertainment industries,” said Tester.
The rescue plan included additional relief for live venue small businesses through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.
Beehler says that funding is making all the difference.
“That allowed us to really keep the business as it is, as a live music venue. That is what a lot of small, local, independent live venues had to tackle. Do they convert to a different kind of business? Do they hold on and try and get ready to bring back live music?” said Beehler.
“Those were some of the hard choices we had to make. And we did. And it was through that kind of support we were able to do so.”
Tester said through the American Rescue Plan that he’s championed targeted funding efforts to support workers, schools, and the local government to help Montana recover from the pandemic.
And says there are indicators that the rescue is helping.
“We are already seeing the benefits. Last month, the U.S. economy added more than 850,000 jobs, outpacing economists’ projects outlining that the American Rescue Plan is indeed is working,” said Tester.