COUNTY HANDS OUT CARES ACT $$ TO LOCAL BUSINESSES

Monroe County Seal

Monroe County has released all $1 million allocated by the Board of County Commissioners for CARES Act Small Business Grant Program funding to 259 small local businesses that were affected by COVID-19. Businesses received grants based on completed applications submitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application period was open from Sept. 5-21 with 577 total applications. Of the 259 funded applications, 134 sole proprietors received $2,500, 109 businesses with two to 10 employees received $5,000, and 16 businesses with 11 to 25 employees received $7,500. Funded businesses ranged from retail, food, galleries, charter fishing and salons to photographers, pool service and fitness centers.

A list of the businesses that received funding is at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/bizcares. While this round of $1 million for the small business grants has been expended, there will be another $1 million for businesses affected by COVID-19 later this month. Program details will be forthcoming. Businesses not funded in the first round can reapply when the second round opens. Businesses that received a grant in the first round may not apply for a second grant.

“When the second round opens, we cannot stress enough how important it is to read the frequently asked questions document and to turn in a complete application,” said legislative affairs director Lisa Tennyson, citing the many applications that were missing required documents. “For the second round the same documentation will be required, so interested businesses can get a head start by gathering those documents now.”

The frequently asked questions document is still available at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/bizcares for anyone who would like to review upcoming application details for the second round of funding. The second round, once announced, will be handled completely through the online application process, and again grants will be made to qualified businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis of completed applications. Those who were funded in the first round are not eligible for a second grant or additional funding for any other business they may own. “The commission’s goal is to ensure that as many businesses as possible are assisted,” said the budget and finance director, Tina Boan.

The county also will open a grant program later this month for nonprofits affected by COVID-19.

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