Businesses that cater to tourists can now apply for some financial support to help pay for pandemic adaptions.

Barrie, Orillia, Simcoe Country, and Grey County have joined forces with the Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7) to create a COVID-19 Tourism Response Fund.

The fund will distribute non-repayable payments, ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to local tourism operators with 99 or fewer employees.

Monies can be used for future changes or retroactively for costs incurred going back to June 1 2020. Recipients are expected to make a matching contribution of 20 percent.

Restaurants, bars, hotels, travel agencies, zoos, theatres, amusement parks, transportation companies (including taxi services, ferry services, and bus companies), and retail stores heavily impacted by the pandemic are some of the operators eligible for the fund.

The $500,000 fund is meant to keep workers and visitors safe while offsetting the cost of health and safety requirements during the pandemic, such as plexiglass barriers, touchless payment systems, and sanitization stations.

Businesses, non-profits, and community organizations are also eligible for financial support.

Applications close Jan. 31.