By Brice Wallace
Salt Lake County businesses that have not benefited from federal, state or local programs to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 now have a county option.
The county recently unveiled a $40 million grant program for companies hurt by the virus’ effects. The Small Business Impact Grant program will offer up to $35,000 grants and is expected to help at least 1,142 companies.
The online application process opened June 16 and will continue until the funds are depleted.
“With these funds, we have a deep commitment to help a multitude of small businesses in Salt Lake County,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.
“We know businesses have been hampered as COVID-19 has required serious public health measures. They have made huge sacrifices to achieve this goal as a community, and we appreciate the seriousness in which owners have taken employee and customer safety. As part of our economic impact and recovery strategy, we must ensure businesses most directly affected have hope and are supported.”
The funding comes from the county’s allocation from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act and aims to help industries hardest-hit by the virus and county public health order closures. Grant amounts will vary based on documented losses and COVID-related expenses. Businesses that have received loans or grants through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and state COVID-19 Commercial Rental Assistance programs currently are not eligible for the county program.
Eligible companies include those in Salt Lake County who were operating prior to Jan. 1, have fewer than 100 employees, can provide documents verifying their financial loss, and be part of industries listed at slco.org.
The grants will not have to be repaid.
That website includes a list of documents needed in the application. Webinars will be conducted to discuss the program and answer any questions from businesses about eligibility and the application process. The website also includes a brief, step-by-step video tutorial about the grant application process.
The application will be available in English, with direct application support available in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese. Interested applicants, including non-English-speaking business owners, who would like to apply but need assistance, can call (385) 468-4011 to be connected with a partner who will assist in navigating the digital application.
“We know the county’s small businesses have endured so many difficulties these past three months as the community navigated the initial impact of this novel virus, and continue to do so today,” said Dina Blaes, director of Salt Lake County’s Office of Regional Development. “This program will meet some of that immediate need while we collaborate and strategize with partners on additional resources to put in place for long-term economic recovery.”
A Salt Lake County consumer sentiment survey in May showed more than 70 percent of consumers had not visited businesses like salons, gyms, cultural centers or entertainment venues or dined in at restaurants for one to two months due to the spread of COVID-19.