The application period for Phase 3 of St. Louis County's small-business relief grants will run Jan. 19 through Feb. 3, the county announced this week.

The Minnesota Legislature has given $3.8 million to St. Louis County for COVID relief assistance for small businesses and eligible nonprofits hurt by the pandemic.

"We know these are challenging times for our business community and we are thankful to our state lawmakers who pushed to offer this relief," said Matthew Johnson, St. Louis County planning and community development director. "We are working hard to ensure these funds will be distributed as quickly and fairly as possible to do the most good."

Grants will be targeted toward businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic, as well as by closure or reduced operations resulting from the executive orders. Qualifying nonprofits are also eligible, consistent with state legislation.

Grant awards will be structured based upon number of employees, ranging from up to $15,000 for businesses and nonprofits with under 20 full- and part-time employees, to up to $45,000 for applicants with over 300 employees. Due to an anticipated high demand for Phase 3 funds, grant amounts may be adjusted, and not all grant applications will be funded. Grants will be awarded by March 15.

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An information meeting will be offered at 9 a.m. Friday. A link to join the meeting can be found at stlouiscountymn.gov/CARES, along with guidelines and application instructions. Video from the meeting will be posted afterward for anyone unable to join live, the county said.

To be eligible, businesses and nonprofits must be physically located in St. Louis County; have no current tax liens on record with the Secretary of State at the time of application; and must have been impacted by a Minnesota Executive Order related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds can be used to cover direct COVID-19 related expenses, as well as operating expenses including, rent, mortgage, utilities, real estate taxes and insurance, and even for payroll.

The application period concludes at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 3.

St. Louis County staff is available to answer questions at 218-725-5000 or at CARES@stlouiscountymn.gov.