Volusia to offer $3,000 grants to local small businesses to offset COVID-19 impacts

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Volusia County opened the application window on Thursday, May 14, on a $10 million grant program to help small businesses recover financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Local businesses that meet the criteria, including having no more than 25 full-time employees or the equivalent number of part-time employees, can qualify for a one-time, $3,000 grant under the program.

The Volusia County Council approved the grant on Tuesday.

“The purpose is to get this money out as soon as we can,” Rick Karl, the county’s head of aviation and economic resources, told the council. “It’s very important that we get this out as quickly as possible.”

The council agreed to seed the program with $10 million in coronavirus relief funds that the county has received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act. To qualify for the county grant program, businesses must certify that they suffered a financial impact of at least $3,000 due to COVID-19 and that the loss wasn’t reimbursed by insurance or some other governmental assistance program.

First-come, first-served basis

Qualifying impacts can be anything from a loss of revenue due to an interruption in business to the cost of installing things like plexiglass dividers, UV sanitizing cabinets and hand sanitizing stations needed to resume normal business operations.

With 12,000 small businesses in Volusia County, there’s enough money for approximately 3,300 of them to receive a county grant. Applications will be processed on a first come, first-served basis, with the application posted on the county’s new Volusia Business Resources web site: https://www.volusiabusinessresources.com.

Who can apply

For small businesses to qualify, they must be a physical business located in a commercial or industrial space, licensed to operate in Volusia County or the local city where they’re located if a license is required and were operational and actively conducting business in Volusia County on or before Dec. 1, 2019.

Tax exempt businesses and businesses that are either a publicly traded company or a subsidiary of a publicly traded company don’t qualify for the program. A complete list of qualification criteria will be listed on the county website.

The county also is thinking about additional ways to use its COVID-19 relief funds to help local businesses recover.

For instance, one idea under consideration is for the county to purchase protective equipment such as masks, gloves and cleaning materials in bulk to distribute to qualified businesses that need them.

“This is definitely a time for us all to move forward in setting up these programs to help these small businesses,” said council member Billie Wheeler. “It has to be our top priority.”

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