Criteria expanded: More businesses will soon be able to apply for Orange County CARES Act grants

Mayor hopes to announce more individual assistance soon


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The eligibility to apply for an Orange County CARES Act business grant has been expanded once again, this time to allow small home-based businesses and businesses that already received up to $75,000 in federal relief.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings made the announcement Thursday afternoon during a coronavirus news conference.

Previously, home-based businesses could not apply to receive a one-time grant from the county to help offset the negative financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic unless they had more than three employees, not including the owner. There was also a rule that any business that had already received a loan of more than $50,000 from the federal Paycheck Protection Program could not apply.

With the expanded criteria, home-based with one to three employees will soon be eligible for a micro grant between $1,000 to $3,000.

Businesses with fewer than 100 employees that have not received more than $75,000 in PPP loans can apply to receive a one-time $10,000 grant.

To help prepare for the upcoming change, the county plans to take down the application portal Friday at 5 p.m. so all the current applications can be processed. The portal will reopen on Aug. 10 with the expanded criteria.

Thus far, 3,579 small business owners have been approved for grants with the county handing out $36.4 million.

Interested business owners can apply here.

Demings said the county is also working to provide more rent, mortgage and utility assistance to individuals and families in the area who’ve experienced a loss of income.

That CARES Act portal for individual assistance opened for the fifth time on July 13. Due to demand, it closed after about 10 minutes.

Demings said at the time that the money for the program would likely be tapped out after the fifth round of applications and it was unclear if the portal would open again.

The mayor said Thursday that he hopes to make an announcement about the portal reopening soon.

“I’m optimistic that next week we’ll make an announcement about when we will reopen the individual and family assistance portal. So that will come hopefully very early next week, we’ll give you an idea about when we will reopen that,” Demings said.

This comes after the governor handed Demings a $7.26 million check on July 17 to help meet housing assistance needs.

Individuals and families can click here to see the CARES Act eligibility requirements so they can get their documents in order before the portal opens again.

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