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COVID relief funds dedicated to home-based businesses and protective gear

Posted On: June 17, 2020

Volusia County is preparing to roll out two more assistance programs to boost the community’s continuing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic after the County Council allocated $3 million in emergency financial support to help home-based businesses and another $1 million to purchase protective equipment for local businesses.

For home-based businesses that meet the eligibility criteria, they can qualify for a one-time grant of $1,500. The $3 million allocation is enough to provide 2,000 grants, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“A lot of work went into this – a lot of good thought on how we would do that,” County Manager George Recktenwald told the County Council on Tuesday.

Businesses must be based out of Volusia County, have the equivalent of 50 or fewer fulltime employees and show a minimum of $6,000 in gross income or gross receipts on their most recent tax return. The businesses also must certify that they’ve suffered at least $1,500 in financial impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those that receive a grant, the money can be used to offset the negative financial impact they experienced and to help defray the cost of reopening or relaunching their business.

Owners of home-based businesses in Volusia County that have or are in the process of receiving a COVID-19 rent or mortgage assistance grant from the county don’t qualify for the home-based business grant program. The grant application window will open at 9 a.m. on Monday. The application and along with a complete list of the eligibility criteria will be posted online here: https://www.volusiabusinessresources.com/.

The county also is launching a program to help local businesses acquire personal protective equipment like gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes and thermometers. On Tuesday. the County Council approved a $1 million allocation of recovery funds to provide businesses with some of the protective equipment they need to ensure the safety of employees and customers. Distributing the protective equipment is designed to aid in the development of a resilient community plan to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 while health and medical experts continue working on a coronavirus treatment or vaccine.

Under the plan approved Tuesday, the county will purchase the protective equipment in bulk quantities and then local chambers of commerce will assemble approximately 7,000 supply kits. The kits will be distributed on 12 dates at six different chamber locations around the county. The distribution plan is being coordinated through the Volusia County Chamber Alliance.

“It’s an exciting program for us because we get to partner again with some stakeholders in the community,” said the county’s economic development director, Helga van Eckert.

The money for the aid is coming from the federal coronavirus relief funds that the county has received through the CARES Act. In addition to the $4 million approved on Tuesday, the County Council has previously allocated $35.5 million for rent and mortgage assistance, food aid, grants for small businesses and non-profit agencies and help for local cities with expenses they’re incurring related to the coronavirus. The council also has agreed to include grants for non-profit organizations that serve the needs of military veterans. The details are expected to be finalized at the council’s next meeting on June 30.

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