The window is still open and funds are available for the CARES Small Business Recovery Grant program in Hernando County.

Hernando County commissioners approved the grant program June 23 to provide relief to businesses that have suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides up to $5,000 for county businesses impacted to help them recover from loss of revenue.

The program is available to brick-and-mortar businesses meeting the following criteria:

Small business must have been located in Hernando County since January and have no more than 50 employees. The following details the three grant amounts available:

• Brick-and-mortar businesses with one to 15 full-time equivalent employees are eligible for $2,500.

• Brick-and-mortar businesses with 16 to 50 full-time equivalent employees are eligible for $5,000.

• Home-based business are eligible for $1,000.

The program provides grants, which do not have to be paid back.

Previous business loan and grant programs spawned by the pandemic emergency were maxed out quickly, but Kasey Kupcik, Hernando County public information officer, said the current grant program is accepting applications and funds remain available. The online application is at https://form.jotform.com/HernandoCounty/hernandocares.

“As of now, it is still open and funds are available,” Kupcik said.

The following businesses are not eligible:

• Businesses engaged in any illegal activity as defined by federal guidelines

• Businesses that derive more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities

• Publicly traded companies

• Nonprofit entities

• Businesses with outstanding liens, code or building code violations

• Businesses excluded on SAM.gov or on the state of Florida convicted/suspended/discriminatory vendor list available at www.DMS.myflorida.com

• Businesses that present live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derive directly or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient sexual nature

• Expenditures cannot have been paid for under another federal program.

Kupcik noted in a release detailing the grant program criteria that funds awarded may be considered taxable income, and recipients should contact their financial adviser for guidance. The funds must be used to cover any of the eligible expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Approved uses include rent, mortgage, utilities, payroll and miscellaneous bills as a result of COVID-19.

More detailed grant criteria is available on the online application web page.