Young man drinking coffee in restaurants

More than $3 million in CARES Act funds will be distributed to small businesses and restaurants in St. Louis County’s continued response to the  coronavirus pandemic,  Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County executive has announced. 

“These grants come at a critical time for small businesses and restaurants in St. Louis County,”  said Page. “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.” 

St. Louis County this year awarded $19.7 million to more than 1,600 small businesses and  restaurants. The additional funds come at the recommendation of the Economic Rescue Team, a  group of volunteers appointed by Page to help lead the county’s economic  recovery efforts. 

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership will administer the 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, said Rodney Crim, CEO and president of the St.  Louis Economic Development Partnership. “These funds  are part of a comprehensive support plan.” 

Small businesses affected by the virus may apply for $5,000 grants to pay for operating  expenses or business costs, including rent and payroll. Restaurants that have had to adapt to 

virus-related, public health restrictions may apply for $5,000 grants to off-set related costs for things such as equipment for outdoor dining, heaters, tents and curbside service. 

In order to 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 December 16, 2020. 

Businesses that have  already received a St. Louis County CARES Act grant are not eligible. 

Application for the Small Business Rapid Deployment Fund grants open Monday, Nov. 23,  at 9 a.m. and will remain open until 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7. Businesses and restaurants are  encouraged to apply as early as possible because funding may be limited based on demand. 

To  apply, go to the Partnership website at STLPartnership.com.

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