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Emergency grants available for businesses

Application process for $1.4 million in funds for those hurt by COVID-19 begins today

Jackson County businesses hurt by COVID-19 restrictions in April can tap into $1.4 million from an emergency grant program.

For each full-time employee, a business could receive up to $2,500.

Applications will be accepted for Jackson County businesses between noon Friday, May 14, to 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 17.

To submit an application and learn more details about the grant, go to soredi.org/socares2021.

Colleen Padilla, executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc., said the applications will be prioritized based on need, and she expects to use up all the money.

“We’re trying to help those who had the greatest impact,” she said.

SOREDI is the grant administrator, and last year it processed applications for $4.8 million in federal CARES Act dollars during the last four months of 2020.

On April 30, the county went into “extreme risk” for three days after COVID cases increased, forcing restrictions on many businesses, including restaurants, bars, gyms and indoor and outdoor entertainment events.

“This newly allocated grant funding will be particularly helpful to those businesses who incurred additional expenses in order to minimally stay open following the governor’s recent order that affected the restaurant and hospitality sector in counties that moved to extreme risk,” Padilla said.

To qualify, a business has to demonstrate it suffered a financial decline or had to take on additional burdens to continue operating due to the April 30 restrictions.

The grant program is available to businesses that had 100 or fewer employees and had annual gross revenues greater than $5,000 in 2019.

Qualifying businesses had to be in operation in 2019 and 2020, and they have to demonstrate they received less revenue in 2020 than 2019 because of COVID restrictions. The business has to be currently open and located in Jackson County.

Businesses need to be registered with the Oregon Secretary of State and must be current on all state and federal taxes.

Ineligible businesses include real estate, nonprofits or those that don’t comply with federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Any business that is closed and doesn’t plan on reopening would not qualify.

If a business’s 2020 revenues exceed those in 2019, it wouldn’t qualify.

Filling out the application thoroughly and providing all financial information and other required documents are necessary.

“If you forget to submit something, you will not be qualified,” Padilla said.

She said most businesses should have all the relevant information readily available, and she said the web portal is designed to make it as easy as possible to apply.

A total of $20 million in grant funds are available under the program in 15 Oregon counties impacted by the recent order to move to “extreme risk” Friday April 30.

The funds are intended to be accessible to all businesses, including the historically disadvantaged population groups such as Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American and women-owned businesses.

Josephine County hasn’t developed its process yet to handle the applications for the grants.

Padilla expects Josephine County’s share of the grant money to be an estimated $712,000.

Freelance reporter Damian Mann can be reached at dmannnews@gmail.com.