SOUTH PORTLAND — The South Portland City Council has extended the city’s COVID-19 Hardship Small Business Grant program to last as long as restrictions on businesses remain due to the pandemic state of emergency.

The council voted unanimously on the extension at its Jan. 19 meeting. The grant, established in June 2020, provides funds of up to $2,000 to eligible small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, the program was slated to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

“Due to the continuing hardship businesses are experiencing, the success of the program to date, and the fact that the governor’s declared state of emergency has been extended, staff are requesting that this program be extended until the governor rescinds the state of emergency order that in part limits certain business operations,” City Manager Scott Morelli said in a memo to the council.