Ontario County EDC - Visit Finger Lakes$1,000,000 in grants available to Ontario County small businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry

Canandaigua, N.Y. – Ontario County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) and Finger Lakes Visitors Connection (FLVC) announce the establishment of the “Visit Ontario County COVID Relief Program” to provide grants to small businesses within Ontario County’s tourism and hospitality industry that were negatively impacted by COVID-19. These funds are available to create new jobs, restore jobs or retain jobs that are at risk of being lost. Applications for funding through the Program are now being accepted by OCEDC on a rolling basis. Information about the Program is available at: https://www.ontariocountyny.gov/1985/Hospitality-and-Tourism-COVID-19-Relief-

In accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), Ontario County received $1,000,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. These funds are being administered on their behalf by OCEDC and FLVC through the “Visit Ontario County COVID Relief Program.”

To help small businesses access the available funding, OCEDC and FLVC have partnered with Ostrander’s Consulting. The consulting firm will assist small businesses in understanding their eligibility, applying for the Program and filling out paperwork. Furthermore, December meetings have been set up across Ontario County communities – Victor, Naples, Geneva, Phelps and Canandaigua – for small businesses to meet with OCEDC, FLVC, and Ostrander’s Consulting and learn about the Program as well as other funding opportunities currently available through Empire State Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Registration for these informational meetings is requested and can be done by calling the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection office at (585) 394-3915 and asking for Valerie or Julie. 

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.”

In 2020, FLVC and OCEDC partnered to create the Visit Confidently Resource Center, which provided PPE, signage and cleaning supplies to Ontario County businesses, in addition to educating business owners on new and evolving reopening guidelines set by New York State.

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: https://www.ontariocountyny.gov/1985/Hospitality-and-Tourism-COVID-19-Relief-


About Ontario County Economic Development Corporation

Ontario County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC), a private, not-for-profit corporation, was formed by the Ontario County BOS (Board of Supervisors) to assist in economic development initiatives in Ontario County. Key features of these programs are to reduce unemployment and attract and retain businesses. More information is available at https://ontariocountyny.gov/991/Ontario-County-Economic-Development-Corp

About Finger Lakes Visitors Connection

Finger Lakes Visitors Connection is the tourism promotion and management agency for Ontario County. Their mission is to create visitorship and economic vitality for Ontario County by marketing its tourism assets and positioning the area as a premier leisure and meetings destination. More information is available at https://www.visitfingerlakes.com/


Media Contact:

Colleen Onuffer

Break the Ice Media


O: 585-394-0787 x2