COVID-19 CARES SMALL Business Assistance Program



UPDATE 10/28/2020: The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved a second round of the CARES Act Small Business Assistance Program for an additional $1 million grant for COVID-19 affected businesses. The application period will be announced pending the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) guidance regarding the CARES Act program. The County will keep those interested in the program updated as we learn more. In the meantime should a business wish to pre-prepare required documents, unless guidance from FDEM changes, we do not see any changes to the required documents listed below. Depending on any changes, the application announcement will be made late this week or early next week. 

Small Business Assistance

The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has deemed assistance to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 business interruptions a necessary response to the public health emergency. The Monroe County BOCC has created the Monroe County CARES Business Assistance Program to distribute a portion (up to $1 million) of the County's initial award of CARES Act funds for grants to eligible, local, small businesses who have suffered from business interruptions, required or voluntary closures, reduced demand or increased expenditures, or other hardships resulting from the COVD-19 public health emergency or related Executive Orders issued by Governor Ron DeSantis or other state agencies (“Executive Orders”). 

Funding for Businesses with 25 Employees or Less

The Monroe County CARES Business Assistance Program consists of a one-time fixed amount grant to qualifying Monroe County-based small businesses with up to 25 employees to aid in their recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency and related business interruptions.

The fixed amounts will be based on the number of the applicant's employees as of February 29, 2020. The definition of an employee includes the owner of the business plus any person that is employed full-time, part-time, or on a seasonal basis by the grant applicant. The grant amounts, based on the number of employees, are as follows:

  • Self-Employed, Sole Proprietors (1 employee): $2,500
  •  2 - 10 employees: $5,000
  • 11 - 25 employees: $7,500

Applications will be accepted and funded based on when a fully completed application is received until the funds are expended on a first-come, first-serve basis. Round 2 is being done completely through the online application. 

Businesses or business owners that were funded in the first round are not eligible for a second grant or additional funding for any other business they may own as the county would like to help as many affected businesses as possible. Businesses that applied but were not funded in the first round can reapply in the second round.

Please note, under Chapter 119, Fla. Stat., information included in this application and any documentation submitted as part of the application or throughout the application process may be subject to public records requests. Please mark financial information as confidential. 

Required Documents

Do not start the application without having all required documents ready to attach or your online application may not save properly and you will have to begin again. 

Additional supporting documents including, but not limited to, bank statements, financial statements or information, receipts, and other financial documents. Any additional documents requested must be provided. The documentation needed can be found in the required document that must be read before completing the application at CARES Program Guidance & Frequently Asked Questions. There is helpful important information and guidance in determining your business’ eligibility to apply, understanding the rules and regulations guiding these funds, and compliance requirements of applicants. 

Required Documents


Business Application for Second Round of Funding

The application will be submitted completely electronically at the following link. Emailed or mailed applications will not be accepted. There are areas in this application to attach all required documents. Any documents that are multiple pages (i.e. 1099, etc), please save as one document. Failure to submit a complete application with required documents attached, or failure to submit any additional supporting documents requested may result in your application being denied. PDF and JPEGs are preferred. 


Round One Funding Announced for 259 Small Businesses

Monroe County has released $1 million allocated by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for CARES Act Small Business Grant Program funding to 259 local small businesses with COVID-19 impacts. Businesses received grants based on completed applications submitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application period was open from Sept. 5-21 with 577 total applications. Of the 259 funded applications, 134 sole proprietors received $2,500, 109 2-10 employee businesses received $5,000, and 16 11-25 employee businesses received $7,500. Funded businesses ranged from retail, food, galleries, charter fishing, and salons to photographers, pool service, and fitness centers, among others.

CARES Stats Grant Round 1 Infographic information in text

Businesses not funded in the first round can reapply when the second round opens. Businesses that received a grant in the first round may not apply for a second grant.

“For a second round, we cannot stress enough how important it is to read the Frequently Asked Questions document and to turn in a fully completed application,” said Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson.

Main Reasons For Not Being Funded

  1. Incomplete application (the vast majority).
  2. Eligibility (too many employees, multiple business applications with the same owner or same employees)
  3. The application was submitted later than other fully completed applications.