ST. GEORGE — The city of St. George is opening up another round of CARES Act grant funding targeting small businesses that continue to struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city is accepting applications to award funding through the Small Business Relief Grant to small businesses that have lost revenue and incurred unanticipated expenses because of COVID-19.
The funding relief mechanism comes on the heals of other financial help including the local Greater Together Resilience Fund, state of Utah programs and federal CARES Act assistance.
“The city of St. George has received CARES Act funding and we knew that there were many small businesses in our area that either did not apply for CARES Act funding or help from the Resilience Fund so we reached out to see if there were additional needs in our community,” Shirlayne Quayle, director of economic development and housing. “Our goal is to get money to businesses that need help. This is another avenue to achieve that goal.”
Industries the city anticipates to take advantage of the Small Business Relief Grant program include personal care businesses such as hair salons, massage therapists, retail, residential construction and a host of other local industries, Quayle said.
“There are a lot of smaller companies that are local service-oriented that may apply for this grant,” she added. “We’re are targeting those businesses – that didn’t apply for the other funding that has been made available through federal or state programs. We want St. George businesses to know they can access that funding at the local level.”
The city released a survey in August to gauge the need in the business community and help set the parameters for a grant program.
Approximately 400 companies responded.
More than 70% reported revenue loss, including 18.45% with more than 75% revenue loss since March 1. Nearly 70% of the respondents indicated they would apply for a COVID-19 relief grant through the city while 12% reported they were not aware of federal and state relief grants.
“With so much federal and state funding available, we wanted to understand the needs of businesses that may be falling into funding gaps,” Quayle said. “Through the survey, we found that yes there were gaps which prompted the creation of this grant to address specific companies and businesses that either didn’t know about the other funding opportunities or did not apply for whatever reason.”
Eligible expenses incurred due to COVID-19 from March 1 through Aug. 31, can be reimbursed up to $25,000.
A business that has received prior CARES Act funding from a federal, state, or local source may still apply, so long as the Small Business Relief Grant request does not overlap in uses or time period with other CARES Act funding.
For-profit and not-for-profit businesses in St. George with 50 or fewer Full-Time Equiliant employees that can demonstrate documented revenue loss of at least $500 since March 1, 2020, can apply.
To qualify for the city of St. George Small Business Relief Grant, a business must:
- Have an active City of St. George business license as of March 1
- Employ 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, including owners
- Provide documentation verifying revenue loss of at least $500 for the grant period of March 1 – Aug. 31
- Have not already received CARES Act funding for the same uses and time period from any federal, state, or local source for COVID-19 related expenses
- Provide documentation verifying eligible CARES Act expenditures
“We have worked hard to ensure this grant offers meaningful support to small businesses who are still suffering,” Quayle said. “This is a grant program so applicants do not have to pay it back. Helping businesses finish 2020 and move into 2021 stronger than expected is this program’s primary goal.”
St. George’s first round of federal CARES Act assistance was received earlier this year when small businesses began struggling and laying off employees. Quayle said that if the need for additional money to go to this grant program the city can reevaluate the money set aside – $500,000 – and request additional assistance if needed.
This round of grant funding is a fine example of a responsive government, said St. George Mayor Jon Pike.
“We have been listening,” Pike said in a statement. “When the city received CARES Act funding, we immediately began exploring how it could best be used to benefit our small businesses.”
Application instructions can be found at sgcity.org/covidreliefgrant. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23, and reviewed in the order they are received.
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