PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — More Pinellas County business owners impacted by COVID-19 now have an opportunity to apply for grant money to help. County officials announced an expansion to the Pinellas CARES Grant program.

What You Need To Know

  • The program offers up to $10,000 for businesses hardest hit by COVID-19

  • Understand more about the CARES program here

So far, more than 3,000 small businesses in Pinellas County have received the emergency grant money. Mike Mendel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development, explained the differences in the newest round of the program and said more businesses are now eligible to apply.

“Think of things like wholesalers to our retail storefronts, service providers of graphic services and advertising to hotels and restaurants, those are the types of businesses that are now eligible,” said Meidel in a Zoom meeting Monday.

The program offers up to $10,000 in sliding scale grants for businesses hardest hit by COVID-19, most of which were required to close or their customers were required to stop doing business.

Now, larger and smaller businesses qualify with only $4,250 in revenue for 2019 required to apply. Home-based businesses are now eligible, no storefronts are required. The range of businesses has also expanded.

In total, the county has $32 million to give to local businesses, and so far it has given out $16 million, so there is plenty more.

“We don't expect to run out of funds quickly, so we do encourage people to take their time putting the application together correctly. They’ll get their money faster by having a correct application,” said Meidel.

Meidel said the county will take a look at the program in about a month and depending on the response, there is a chance they could expand the grant further offering help to even more businesses.

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