When the Guilford County Board of Commissioners first began giving out grants to small area businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, county officials were alarmed at how few businesses were applying.

However, in the end, those concerns proved unwarranted because, now, practically all of the $20 million allocated for that purpose has been claimed.

In June, Guilford County began giving the grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses that had under 50 employees. The money was part of a generous federal COVID-19 relief package – CARES – that allocated about $94 million to Guilford County.  

At the start of October, county staff reported that about $17 million of the $20 million for small businesses had been claimed. On Thursday, Oct. 8, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips said that roughly $19 million of the funds had been claimed.

So, any local business that’s been hurt by the pandemic and qualifies in other ways should go quickly to www.guilfordcountync.gov if they want any hope of claiming $10,000 out of the remaining $1 million.

“That will be it,” said Phillips of the $20-million program, “assuming there is no second round [from the federal government].”

This week, negotiations for a new national COVID-19 relief/stimulus bill were in flux. Early in the week, President Trump tweeted that he was calling the talks off – however, later, government leaders were still holding out hope that some sort of relief package could be agreed upoon since there’s a belief among many in DC that a new package is needed to prevent a recession.

Commissioner Kay Cashion said recently that she had heard first hand that the county’s small business grant program was a big help to people even though the payouts are relatively small considering how much money some businesses have lost.