Fort Bend County will release its preliminary guidelines for how small businesses can receive federal grant money to help deal with reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines for the Fort Bend County COVID-19 Support Small Business Grant Program, which are expected to be finalized and approved at Tuesday’s commissioners court meeting, would give small businesses grants up to $10,000 to as many businesses as possible.

The funds, which are from the CARES Act, are to be used to help businesses get through the next few weeks as businesses continue to reopen under Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers helped form some of the guidelines to help county business stay on their feet during this pandemic.

“We have to define our objective,” Meyers wrote to county auditor Ed Sturdivant and county judge KP George. “Is it to help the really small businesses survive or is it to help as many businesses as possible to reopen so to provide employment for our citizens after government forced them to close? I believe we should help as many businesses and unemployed as we can.”

The program will allow businesses that did not receive stimulus funding from the Small Business Administration to be first in line for the first two weeks. Everyone else would be eligible after that two-week period.

Qualifying businesses would be those located in Fort Bend County, has one to 10 employees, has ate least $100,000 in revenue and does not exceed $2 million, based on income from 2019, but also has a revenue loss of 25% or more as a direct result of COVID-19.

Meyers had some different recommendations, including implementing a sliding scale of payment from $5,000 to $25,000 based on annual sales to save and/or create as many jobs as possible. He also wants no limits on how the funds are spent, while the initial guidelines say that the funds should be spent on things like personal protective equipment, supplies, inventory, utilities and leases/mortgages.

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