County's distribution of CARES Act funds for small business moves from Phase 1 to Phase 2

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Planning & Community Development Department • Government Services Center

320 West Second Street, Suite 301 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 725-5000 • Toll Free in Minnesota: 1 (800) 450-9777 


Matthew Johnson




September 11, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: Matthew Johnson

Director, Planning & Community Development Department



St. Louis County's distribution of CARES Act funds for small businesses moves from Phase 1 to Phase 2

St. Louis County is preparing to transition to the next phase in the distribution of CARES Act funds to assist small businesses. The online application period for Phase I closes Monday, September 14, at 8 a.m. To date, more than 250 businesses in St. Louis County have already applied for Phase I grants. Phase I grant assistance focuses on businesses and non-profits with 25 or fewer full-time employees, and is for COVID-related expenses incurred by the business such as for purchasing PPE, cleaning supplies, signage and safety barriers. Businesses may apply for assistance equivalent to $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $25,000. Any business still wishing to apply can access and submit the application at


The Phase 2 funding application period begins Monday, September 14 at 8 a.m. and continues through Monday, September 28. Phase 2 Small Business Relief Grants focus on providing emergency grant assistance of up to $50,000 to businesses and non-profits with 100 or fewer employees.


Phase 2 funds can be used for COVID-related expenses, such as PPE, cleaning supplies, signage and safety barriers; as well as for expenses incurred during or as a result of business interruption due to a mandated Minnesota Governor Executive Order shutdown or COVID-19 related business closing. These funds can be used to cover up to 50% of costs for rent, mortgage, and utilities. Also eligible are irrecoverable expenses incurred in the loss of business, such as contracts, events, bookings and cancellations, and similar expenses incurred during or as a result of business interruption. This includes payroll not covered by the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) or other funding programs.


Full program guidelines can be found online at The online application for Phase II will be posted Monday at 8 a.m.


"We are happy to continue providing assistance to small businesses as we move into Phase Two," said County Board Chair Mike Jugovich. "Throughout Phase One, we've been receiving applications from businesses throughout the county, the majority of which actually have 10 or fewer employees, so we know this funding is making a real difference in helping these businesses address unexpected expenses caused by the pandemic."


Businesses that already applied and received a grant through Phase I may also apply for Phase 2 if they submit new or unreimbursed expenses. St. Louis County has allocated $6 million in federal CARES Act funds specifically to help small businesses throughout the county.