Small Business Must Act Fact On CARES Act Grants

Guest Correspondence

BY CHRISTINE ROBINSON SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY SEP 19, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) applications are available in Sarasota County to provide relief to individuals and businesses. We as citizens and businesses in Sarasota County have a short window to apply for this relief. We do not have time to wait, we must just act.

As far as the business applicants, the businesses that need this money the most are the smallest of small businesses. However, the smaller the business the harder the application is to fill out. Microbusinesses do not have immediate access to accountants and attorneys that larger businesses have. They also do not have the record-keeping abilities of larger businesses. Anyone who has ever assisted these businesses, as I have in my previous life in legal practice donating pro bono hours, knows that “shoe box“ record-keeping is extremely common due to scale and razor thin net income. These folks are just trying to earn enough income to support their families.

That is where our community partners are stepping in. The local chambers, business associations, and the NAACP are filling the gap for government.  It is what makes this county so great, the community stepping up with the sense of urgency this relief was meant to invoke. We have watched too many businesses fold up in the last few months.

Other community partners like our community foundations and non-profits are also stepping forward to help get this money to individuals. They see the need and the suffering daily as they are the ones on the ground and in the streets watching families fall apart during this pandemic. They too have a high sense of urgency; they see the growing need is great.

Now all of us need to get the word out to the community. Some Facebook ads and texts to those who pay attention to government are not enough. Together, as a community, we must let our neighbors know this reimbursement aid is available and how they can access it.  With the actual documentation requirements only released a few days before the applications, it will take extra time and assistance to help those most in need, and this pandemic has clearly put them in a disadvantage financially and emotionally.

Unfortunately, time is not what we have in front of us. As of right now, we only have about 90 days to get these applications fully submitted accurately with very complete documentation.   

Please tell your neighbors that they need to take the time to look at this program. They must start right away, and make sure their applications are as complete and accurate as possible, as our community does not have a lot of time. To help our community recover please share the below county link with as many individuals and business owners as you are able, as soon as you are able, or our community loses out.

Christine Robinson is executive director for The Argus Foundation.

Sarasota County CARES ACT program

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