The new round of small business grants has a higher limit. Past CARES recipients are eligible.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Businesses line Columbia Boulevard in St. Helens. Many businesses have struggled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, either being forced to close because of public health mandates or seeing a decline in business.A new round of small business grants are available to Columbia County businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Columbia County Economic Team and Columbia Pacific Economic Development District announced the $500,000 fund earlier this week.

The grants are available to businesses in Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook, and western Washington counties.

In the previous round of local small business grants, $250,000 was available solely for Columbia County through state and county funding.

For the current program, the maximum award is double the summer maximum.

In that round, the maximum award was $25,000, while the limit is now $50,000.

Businesses that received less than $100,000 in federal CARES Act funding through the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans are eligible for these grants.

More than 400 Columbia County businesses received PPP loans, according to data released by the federal government in July. Eighty of those businesses had received $100,000 or more.

Businesses with up to 25 employees are eligible for grant funding if they were forced to shut down because of a state order or "can demonstrate a 25% drop in gross revenue in a given month between March and August of 2020, compared to the same month (in) 2019," a CCET press release explains.

Applications are due by midnight on Oct. 17. A complete application packet and a streamlined application for businesses that submitted applications in the first round are available on the CCET website.

Grant checks will be awarded by Nov. 15.

"There is more money available from the state if we commit all of this, but that puts a premium on business-owners immediately filing applications, just as soon as possible," Col-Pac Executive Director Ayreann Colombo said in the CCET press release. "We hope that these grants as well as other important services will help our business owners and communities continue to find their footing through this public health and economic crisis."

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