May 14th, 2020 · by Mike Finney, DOVER – Levy Court Commissioners voted in solidarity at their combined business and committee meetings on Tuesday to establish the COVID-19 Business Relief Fund, which will help small business owners as they re-open their businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
The business relief fund grew out of a request for assistance from the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce (CDCC) to help businesses acquire Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning supplies.
Initiated at the committee meetings on May 8, Levy Court Commissioner Eric Buckson asked his colleagues to consider allocating $50,000, of which $18,000 would cover Kent County’s contribution toward the CDCC’s Back to Business start-up kits request.
The remaining balance would go to the newly established COVID-19 Business Relief Fund divided equally among the six Levy Court Districts to award grants to qualified small businesses, not to exceed $500 per applicant. The request moved forward for a vote at Tuesday’s business meeting. All commissioners agreed that establishing the relief fund is a step in a positive direction.
To qualify, businesses must be located in Kent County and hold a valid business license. They must have been in business for at least one year, have a maximum of 20 employees, and the funds cannot be used to pay debts incurred before March 17. Other exclusions to grant funds are real estate and vehicle purchases.
Businesses that are not covered under the grant include: any essential business that was open during the State of Emergency; franchises and national chain stores/restaurants; home-based businesses; internet-based businesses and virtual businesses, as well as payday loan businesses, tobacco stores, faith-based organizations, pawn shops, adult entertainment stores and real estate businesses.