As bars and numerous other businesses continue waiting for permission to reopen from COVID-19 restrictions, Palm Beach County is offering some financial relief.
On Friday, businesses that were forced to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions will be allowed to apply for individual grants for up to $25,000. Palm Beach County is allocating $23 million for this round of grants and will process claims on a first-come, first-served basis.
Palm Beach County will begin accepting online applications at 8 a.m. Friday. The two-week window will close on Oct. 9.
Those eligible would be a business that:
Was shut down or had services limited due to a state or county executive order
Was operating Oct. 1, 2019, and still operating on Feb. 29, 2020
Did not receive a restart business grant in Phase 1.
Also, no publicly-traded companies or nonprofit organizations would qualify. A full list of requirements can be found on the county’s website.
This will mark the second round of business grants in Palm Beach County. In the first wave, which began in May, the county delivered $50 million in grant assistance to nearly 3,000 businesses.
Since then, Palm Beach County has gradually reopened the economy.
The county officially entered Phase 2 of its coronavirus recovery plan on Sept. 8, allowing many businesses such as movie theaters and bowling alleys to reopen. As part of county’s five-step plan, bars were not given a reopening date because they were still closed statewide.
Gov. Ron DeSantis later gave the green light for bars to reopen at 50% capacity statewide on Sept. 14. Palm Beach County, though, elected not to reopen bars, which have been shuttered since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
County commissioners continue discussing the possibility of reopening bars in the county. During Tuesday’s commission meeting, County Administrator Verdenia Baker said her staff will work this week on formulating an accelerated timeline for those businesses to resume operations.
County Commissioner Hal Valeche, who has been ardently in favor of reopening the economy, continued to push for a quicker timeline in reopening bars, citing “economic problems that are continuing to fester” among out-of-work employees.
“There’s been some comment the board is not paying enough attention to the plight of some of these business owners who are continuing to struggle,” Valeche said. “And that we’re focusing far too much on almost trying to eradicate the disease, which is not going to happen to the exclusion of eradicating businesses, which is happening.”
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