St. Louis County completed successful distribution of $6,191,801 in federal CARES Act funds aimed at small businesses throughout the county.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus signed into law by President Donald Trump in March.

In St. Louis County, 471 businesses received funding through the county's Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grants, the county said in a news release Wednesday.

The money was distributed in two phases:

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  • Phase 1, which was completed earlier this fall, provided grant assistance to businesses and non-profits with 25 or fewer full-time employees, for COVID-19 related expenses such as to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, signage and safety barriers. St. Louis County awarded $674,613 to 220 businesses during Phase 1.
  • Phase 2 focused on businesses and non-profits with up to 100 employees, providing emergency grant assistance of up to $50,000. The funds could be used for PPE and other COVID-related costs, as well as broader expenses incurred during or as a result of business interruption from Gov. Tim Walz's ordered shutdown. The county distributed a total of $5,517,188 to 355 businesses during Phase 2. These small businesses together employ a total of 4,980 people in St. Louis County.

"Our small businesses contribute so much to our county and to our economy," said Commissioner Keith Nelson, who chairs the County Board's finance committee. "They have faced so many challenges and hardships this year, and it's gratifying to be able to help them in this way during this critical time."

In addition to the small business grants, the county distributed $1.8 million in CARES Act funds to 12 public school districts and two charter schools within the county. It has also distributed $2.8 million in funding to community organizations, and $89,000 in individual assistance.