Washington County has begun taking applications from small businesses and non-profits for COVID-19 relief funding.

The county received $5 million in county relief grants for local businesses, approved by the Legislature in mid-December, based on a per-capita allocation.

Washington County will first provide grants to impacted businesses holding a food, pools, or lodging license from Washington County for 2021, with grants equal to the 2021 license fee. Licensed businesses receiving a grant under this portion of the program are also eligible to apply for an additional grant.

Applications have started to be accepted and will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Feb. 4.

To be eligible, businesses must be in Washington County, have no tax lien, and be able to show how they have been impacted, directly or indirectly, by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, they must have been in operation on or before Nov. 1, 2020.

The Washington County Board determined that priority for grant funding will go to those businesses most directly impacted by the governor’s most recent executive order. If funding remains available, eligible applicants then include businesses that have been directly or indirectly impacted by any executive orders issued to address the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, and certain non-profit businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Grants will be awarded and checks mailed by March 15. Once a business meets the eligibility criteria, its grant award amount will be based on the following tiers: up to $15,000 for for-profit and non-profit restaurants and bars impacted by the executive order, up to $15,000 for other for-profit businesses impacted, either directly or indirectly, by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, up to $10,000 for eligible non-profit businesses impacted by an executive order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and up to $7,500 for home-based or non-employer small businesses/sole proprietors.

Funds must be used for business operating expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those expenses may include payroll, rent payments, mortgage payments, payments to suppliers, insurance, utility expenses or other critical business expenses, including expenses related to closing and/or reopening. Washington County funds may not be used for the same expenses or activities that were paid with other sources of grants or COVID relief funds.

For more information and to view eligibility requirements, visit the Washington County website and the county’s Community Development Agency website.

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