Sarasota County Launches CARES Act Grant Program

Todays News


Sarasota County began accepting applications on Wednesday for CARES Act Funding, and between noon and 5 p.m. collected 168 applications for small businesses and 173 for individuals seeking federal aid.

As more requests come in, officials will decide how to dole out some $18.9 million in federal assistance allocated to the county’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. The money can be used for economic recovery, or for such basic needs as food, housing and water.

"As the nation, our state and our community continues to wrestle with the effects of COVID-19 on their professional and personal lives, it was vitally important to the county commission that the monies are distributed out to the community,” said Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis. “In order to do that, we did our due diligence to make certain these funds will be properly distributed." 

The eager entry of applications shows the pent-up demand for help more than six months after the first reported coronavirus infection in Florida surfaced at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. As of Wednesday morning, Sarasota County health officials reported there have been 7,709 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of March, including 241 deaths.

The pandemic also caused a statewide lockdown order through most of April, which had a huge economic impact on businesses not deemed essential. Restaurants continue to operate at 50% capacity, and bars and nightclubs have been closed through most of the pandemic, coming back online this week.

The money made available as of Wednesday represents disbursements already issued to Sarasota County. Lewis says the county could ultimately be eligible for up to $75 million in funding.

More information is available on the application process for individuals and businesses at

County spokesperson Brianne Grant said a system is also in the works to present information to the public in dashboard form tracking daily applications. That could launch as soon as early next week.

Lewis said county leaders are working in concert with area nonprofits, chambers of commerce and other agencies to ensure the funding gets directed in ways that most effectively meet the needs of the community.

Image: screenshot from Sarasota County CARES Act Small Business Grant Application Process instructional video

To learn more about application process, click here.

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