Grants up to $7,500 available to St. Lucie County small businesses from CARES Act funds
About $4 million of the $28 million received as St. Lucie County’s share of federal COVID-19 relief funding is being made available to small businesses in the county that are struggling to stay in operation during the viral pandemic.
Grants of up to $5,000 are available to small businesses with up to three employees, and grants of up to $7,500 are available to businesses with 4-10 employees. The funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis, but businesses that have not already received government funding will be given priority.
Business owners can apply for the grants starting Aug. 3 at the county’s Recover St. Lucie website.
In order to qualify for the grants, business must be physically located in St. Lucie County and must have been deemed “nonessential” by government order. Total annual revenues may not exceed $1 million. Grants must be used to cover operational and working capital expenses incurred during a forced closure or slowdown, between March 1 and December 30, 2020. Businesses may not use the funds to replace lost revenue, or to cover losses already covered by insurance or reimbursed by any federal program.
Qualifying expenses include:
• Mortgage, rent, utilities, and insurance premium costs incurred while the business is closed.
• Reopening costs, such as business interruption resulting from limited accessibility to the public, and the costs for signage announcing requirements such as directional floor markings.
• Costs for personal protective equipment required for the safety of employees and the public.
• Businesses may also use these funds to cover payroll during a closure.
The grants are open to nonessential business such as restaurants, bars, short-term lodging establishments and vacation rentals, and businesses covered under the State of Florida Safer at Home Guidance document, as well as any business subject to St. Lucie County’s Emergency Order.
Complete eligibility requirements and a list of the documents necessary for the application process are available online. The deadline to apply is Sept. 3. A committee will review the applications, and applicants will notified by email whether the application has been accepted or denied. Funding will be made by direct deposit.
A free webinar hosted by the St. Lucie County Economic Development Council (EDC) instructing businesses how to apply for the grants is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 31. Click here to register for the webinar.
“We want this critical infusion of capital in the hands of small business owners who need it the most,” said EDC President Pete Tesch. “Beyond this grant funding, we also have many other support programs for small business owners.”
The assistance is provided through the county’s Virtual Business Recovery Center. Workforce development and training services also are offered through the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College and CareerSource Research Coast, Tesch said.
For more information about COVID-19 consulting services and other programs for businesses, call 772-336-6285 or send an email.