County opens up new round of small business grants

Funds available for those directly impacted by Covid-19 regulations

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The San Benito County Board of Supervisors opened up a second round of small business grants to help locals who have been directly impacted by recent stay-at-home orders and related Covid-19 restrictions.

The supervisors last week approved up to $750,000 worth of grants for local small businesses. The grants are funded by federal CARES Act funding, according to county staff.

Grants between $5,000 and $15,000 will be prioritized for businesses most impacted by the pandemic. Eligibility requirements include:

-The business must have closed or significantly modified operations due to California’s regional stay-at-home order from Dec. 6, or other current Covid-19 restrictions;

-The definition of “significantly modified operations” includes new business requirements for takeout, curbside and outdoor dining, as well as other modifications contained in state Covid-19 guidelines.

All small business grant applicants must be operating within San Benito County. All taxes must be current and in good standing, with no outstanding tax liens or legal judgments, according to county staff.

Applying businesses must be in compliance with local and state industry guidance to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19, county staff added in a press release. Applicants are required to verify the business has suffered a loss of revenue due to Covid-19.

Details on the state’s industry guidance to reduce the risk of Covid-19 exposure can be found on the state’s website: https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/.

The county will host a Feb. 4 webinar on the new round of small business grants. Information about the webinar and the grant program can be found on the county’s website: https://www.cosb.us/services/community/small-business-disaster-relief-grant-round-2.

“This grant program comes at a particularly crucial time for local businesses that have sacrificed for the greater good due to the recent state order and ongoing restrictions,” Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki said. “Our goal was to make the application process as simple and fair as possible, and I strongly encourage all eligible businesses to apply.”

The county will start accepting grant applications Feb. 5, and the deadline to apply is Feb. 21. County staff will review the applications, notify recipients and award funds to qualifying applicants by April 2, says the county’s press release.

In December, the county approved the first round of small business grants funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. That round of grants offered a total of $50,000 worth of funds to help small businesses upgrade their equipment for the winter.  

The City of Hollister last year used some of the federal funds to help downtown restaurants and shops create parklets to facilitate outdoor business. The city reconfigured San Benito Street to allow the parklets to be built safely.