ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Small businesses and restaurants in St. Louis County will have the opportunity to apply for more CARES Act funding.
Tighter COVID-19 restrictions began in the county on Nov. 17. The restrictions include: no more indoor dining and a capacity reduction at other businesses to 25%. The restrictions were put in place due to the rise in COVID-19 cases across the St. Louis area.
Thursday morning dozens protested recent restaurant restrictions outside St. Louis County Executive Sam Page's office. Protesters chanted, "We want to work" and held signs with messages such as "Keep us open" and "Put #SamPage and other politicians on a servers wage and watch how fast things change."
Page announced Thursday afternoon that more than $3 million in CARES Act funds will be distributed to small businesses and restaurants in the county.
“These grants come at a critical time for small businesses and restaurants in St. Louis County,” Page said. “We know these businesses have been acutely affected by the pandemic and our efforts to control the spread of the virus. I implore all businesses that qualify to apply for these grants and I call on our leaders in Washington to get together now and approve a stimulus package so that we can get more financial assistance out into our communities. This should have happened months ago.”
Earlier this year, $19.7 million was distributed to more than 1,600 small businesses and restaurants.
According to a release from Page's office, the additional funds come at the recommendation of the Economic Rescue Team, a group of volunteers appointed by Page earlier this year to help lead the county’s economic recovery efforts.
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership will administer the new program, known as the Small Business Rapid Deployment Fund.
“As a catalyst for economic development in the St. Louis region, we remain committed to helping existing businesses weather the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus. These funds are part of a comprehensive support plan,” said Rodney Crim, CEO and President of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.
Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for $5,000 grants to pay for operating expenses or business costs, including rent and payroll. Restaurants that have had to adapt to COVID-related public health restrictions can apply for $5,000 grants to off-set related costs for things such as equipment for outdoor dining, heaters, tents, and curbside service.
Businesses that qualify
- Businesses must have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and have a physical presence in St. Louis County.
- The grants can only go to businesses significantly impacted by the continued economic challenges created by COVID-19 and will only cover expenses and costs incurred between April 1, 2020 and Dec. 16, 2020.
- Businesses that have already received a County CARES Act grant are not eligible.
Applications will open on Nov. 23 at 9 a.m. and will remain open until Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.
Page's office said businesses and restaurants are encouraged to apply as early as possible because funding may be limited based on demand. To apply, click here.