COVID-19 CARES SMALL Business Assistance Program


The second round of the Monroe County CARES Act Business Assistance Program is now closed to accepting applications for funding. The program was created with CARES Act funding to assist Monroe County businesses who were negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The CARES Business Assistance Program consisted of a one-time fixed amount grant to qualifying Monroe County-based small businesses with up to 25 employees. The program application period opened on Friday, Oct. 30 with $1 million to allocate. More than 350 applications were received.

Fully completed applications received will be processed for grants until the $1 million allocation is exhausted. Grants will be made on a first-eligible first-served basis. 

Small Business Assistance

The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has deemed assistance to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 business interruptions a necessary response to the public health emergency. The BOCC has created the Monroe County CARES Business Assistance Program to distribute a portion of the County's initial award of CARES Act funds for grants to eligible, local, small businesses who have suffered from business interruptions, required or voluntary closures, reduced demand, or increased expenditures, or other hardships resulting from the COVD-19 public health emergency or related Executive Orders issued by Governor Ron DeSantis or other state agencies. Round two is the second round of $1 million to be allocated to small businesses. Round one information can be found below.

Funding for Businesses with 25 Employees or Less

The Monroe County CARES Business Assistance Program consists of a one-time fixed amount grant to qualifying Monroe County-based small businesses with up to 25 employees to aid in their recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency and related business interruptions.

The fixed amounts will be based on the number of the applicant's employees as of February 29, 2020. The definition of an employee includes the owner of the business plus any person that is employed full-time, part-time, or on a seasonal basis by the grant applicant. The grant amounts, based on the number of employees, are as follows:

  • Self-Employed, Sole Proprietors (1 employee): $2,500
  •  2 - 10 employees: $5,000
  • 11 - 25 employees: $7,500

Applications will be accepted and funded based on when a fully completed application is received until the funds are expended on a first-come, first-serve basis. This round is being done completely online. 

Businesses or business owners that were funded in the first round are not eligible for a second grant or additional funding for any other business they may own as the county would like to help as many affected businesses as possible. Businesses that applied but were not funded in the first round can reapply in the second round.

Please note, under Chapter 119, Fla. Stat., information included in this application and any documentation submitted as part of the application or throughout the application process may be subject to public records requests. Please mark financial information as confidential. 

Required Documents

Do not start the application without having all required documents ready to attach or your online application may not save properly and you will have to begin again. Submitted applications without all of the required documentation attached will not be considered. 

Additional supporting documents including, but not limited to, bank statements, financial statements or information, receipts, and other financial documents. Any additional documents requested must be provided. The documentation needed can be found in the required document that must be read before completing the application at CARES Program Guidance & Frequently Asked Questions. There is helpful important information and guidance in determining your business’ eligibility to apply, understanding the rules and regulations guiding these funds, and compliance requirements of applicants. 

Required Documents


It will answer frequently asked questions and let applicants know what required documents are needed, as well as other things. 

Business Application for Second Round of Funding

The application will be submitted completely electronically for Round 2. There are areas in the electronic application to attach all required documents. Any documents that are multiple pages (i.e. 1099, etc), please save as one document. Failure to submit a complete application with required documents attached, or failure to submit any additional supporting documents requested may result in your application being denied. PDF and JPEGs are preferred. 

  • This application period is no longer available. 

Round One Funding Announced for 259 Small Businesses

Monroe County has released all $1 million allocated by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners for CARES Act Small Business Grant Program funding to 259 local small businesses with COVID-19 impacts. Businesses received grants based on completed applications submitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The application period was open from Sept. 5-21 with 577 total applications. Of the 259 funded applications, 134 sole proprietors received $2,500, 109 2-10 employee businesses received $5,000, and 16 11-25 employee businesses received $7,500. Funded businesses ranged from retail, food, galleries, charter fishing, and salons to photographers, pool service, and fitness centers, among others.

CARES Stats Grant Round 1 Infographic information in text

“We cannot stress enough how important it is to read the Frequently Asked Questions document and to turn in a complete application,” said Legislative Affairs Director Lisa Tennyson, citing the many applications that were missing required documents.

There are 3 reasons why someone didn’t get funded:

  1. Incomplete application (the vast majority)
  2. Weren’t eligible (too many employees, multiple business applications with the same owner or same employees)
  3. App submitted after we ran out of money


The County will also open up a grant program for COVID-19-impacted nonprofits later this month.