The Faribault City Council tonight unanimously approved establishing a small business COVID relief grant program.  Community and Economic Development Director Deanna Kuennen outlined specifics for the program.

Kuennen told the City Council Faribault received just under $1.8 million of Federal Cares Act funds from the state's allocation of approximately $800 million.  She says there are a number of eligible uses for the money, "One of those eligible uses is direct business assistance. We have put together the policy and program guidelines. The program we're asking the council to consider would be the small business relief fund that would provide a total of $500,000 for direct business assistance in round one."

Kuennen added there will be, "Additional funding rounds coming back before the council in the future.  This round would provide grants of $5,000 for businesses with one to five employees.  $10,000 for business with six to fifty employees."

Some specific criteria must be met.  They must be for profit, have a physical location, have employees be operational in advance of the pandemic.  Be licensed and in good standing.  Be current on their property taxes.

"And also be able to demonstrate a loss as a result of business interruption due to COVID-19."  Kuennen went on to say, "What we would be looking to do is accept applications between July 20 and August 3.  Those would be accepted through the city's website through an application portal.

Council Member Elizabeth Cap thanked Kuennen for getting a local program set up so soon after receiving the funds, "It really shows how committed we are to taking care of each other here.  So thank you for your hard work.  I really hope the word gets out that assistance is available so we can certainly help the people that are in need.  Because this is still a trying time you know.  We're not out of the woods yet so I really appreciate what you've done to get the money back into our community.