Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants Frequently Asked Questions

The Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant program’s application period closed on June 30, 2020.  However, all applications submitted before 11:59 p.m. on the night of June 30, will be reviewed, and awarded a grant if eligible. 
A new business assistance program will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners in July.

Overview For Businesses

What is the purpose of the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant?

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant offers emergency relief to small businesses facing serious financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of these funds is to provide temporary financial relief to those most impacted by the pandemic and resulting business closures.

Will there be an extension of the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant program?

A new business assistance program will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners in July.

Where did this funding come from?

These funds come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congress designated a portion of funds to go to local governments to meet urgent financial needs within communities.

Which businesses qualify for this funding?

Small businesses in Pinellas County that have suffered significant, temporary loss of revenue or job losses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly businesses that have been directly affected by state and local business closure orders, are eligible. Please keep reading for specific eligibility criteria.

What can I use these funds to pay for?

Funds can be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.  Grant funding can be used for business expenses, such as employees’ wages, mortgage, rent, vendor invoices, utility bills, payroll and other costs, so long as these expenses are not paid for by insurance or another federal assistance program.

These grants aim to provide gap funding to allow businesses to seek additional assistance offered through state and federal programs for other losses not covered by this grant. Visit www.pced.org/covid19loans for resources. See additional requirements below.

These grants may be considered taxable income, so please contact your financial advisor for guidance.

How much funding is available for small businesses?

Pinellas County has set aside $35 million for eligible small businesses to each receive a one-time grant of $5,000. This $5,000 is not a loan and does not need to be reimbursed.

Based on the estimated number of qualifying business, the County anticipates having sufficient funds to assist all eligible business applicants.

If I’m approved, how quickly will I receive assistance?

Complete applications with all required documentation will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on the number of applicants, it may take several weeks from the date of application submission until eligible business owners and individuals will receive the approved funding.

Pinellas County is committed to helping our small businesses in need of aid as quickly as possible. Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic to our local community, we anticipate a high volume of requests.

What is the application deadline?

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant program will begin accepting applications on Monday, May 4, 2020. The application period will close on June 30, 2020.  Applications will not be accepted after June 30, 2020. However, all applications submitted before 11:59 p.m. on the night of June 30, will be reviewed, and awarded a grant if eligible. 


Which Businesses Qualify to Apply, Which Do Not and Why?

Which businesses qualify for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant?

Businesses are eligible for a $5,000 grant if it meets ALL of the following criteria:

  • Business is physically located within the boundaries of Pinellas County, Florida.       
  • Business occupies commercial space within Pinellas County.
  • Business has been operating since at least October 1, 2019.
  • Business can demonstrate ongoing business operations as of February 29, 2020.
  • Business is expected to return to full operations after local and state emergency guidelines during COVID-19 are rescinded.
  • Business is not a publicly traded company.  
  • Business suffered from business interruption caused by required closures resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Business suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 exceeding $5,000 since March 1, 2020, excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program.
  • Business employed 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or less, including owner, as of February 29, 2020. The firm can have many more part-time employees as long as the total weekly hours of all employees does not exceed 1,000 (25 FTE x 40-hour work week).
  • Business does not have any current unpaid code enforcement liens.
  • No owner, officer, partner, or principal actor of the business has a felony conviction for financial mismanagement within the last two years for which he or she is still serving a sentence (including prison, parole, and probation).    
  • Business is not operating in violation of any state, federal or local laws.

Am I eligible if I meet some, but not all, of the eligibility requirements?

No, a business must meet ALL eligibility requirements to be eligible.

How do I know if my business suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 exceeding $5,000 since March 1, 2020, excluding those covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program”?

Your business needs to be able to attest that it suffered at least $5,000 in lost revenue and/or additional business expense since March 1 due to COVID-19. For example, you may want to consider how much revenue you expected to earn since March 1 and compare to how much you have actually earned. You may also want to consider whether you had new or increased expenses due to COVID-19 like cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. Remember that if insurance and/or reimbursement from any federal program will cover revenue losses or additional expenses, that must be deducted when calculating “economic damages”.

Please remember: Pinellas CARES grants CANNOT be used to pay for business losses that are paid by insurance or another federal program.

What types of businesses qualify?

Why are only these types of businesses getting assistance?

These business types were selected to receive assistance because they were required to close by the “Safer-at-Home” orders issued by the Governor’s Office and Pinellas County or, in the case of food service and lodging establishments, were severely impacted by these orders. For example, while restaurants have been allowed to remain open for carryout or delivery, this change in operations resulted in a significant loss of employment and revenues. Many restaurants were not able to adapt and closed entirely. Another example is lodging establishments. Typically, this time of year occupancy in hotels and motels would be about 90%. Recently it’s been as low as 17%. That’s an 80% reduction in income.

Are only non-essential businesses required to close under the Governor’s Order eligible?

No, restaurants and lodging establishments also will qualify, as will places of public and private assembly identified in the County’s “Safer at Home” order. No other essential businesses are eligible.

Can an owner with a short-term rental property that violates local municipal codes apply for this grant?  

These properties are not eligible for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant. Short term rentals in communities that exclude such businesses are ineligible.

Why don’t home-based businesses qualify?

While the County would like to include all businesses impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency, it is simply not possible with the funding we have available.  There are over 32,000 firms in the county with 25 or fewer employees. 

The decision to exclude home-based businesses at this time was not entered into lightly and was based on many factors. We wanted to provide meaningful financial relief to as many small businesses as possible, as quickly as possible.  We also wanted to have the highest indirect impact possible so that others could benefit beyond the business owner.  A business with a physical business location outside their home is likely making rent or mortgage payments; they are likely to have a higher number of employees; they are paying utilities and probably other business expenses such as janitorial, pest control and security.  These all lead to the high probability that expenses will exceed $5,000 over the period covered by the grants and ensure that the money is quickly spread to other parts of the community.  

Home-based businesses were not forced to close under the Governor’s or the Board of County Commissioners’ orders and many could continue to operate within Center for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines or through online sales.

We will be monitoring the application and awards process and may expand the program eligibility requirements in the future, if sufficient funds are available. 

Do all commercial locations qualify?  What about hair salons?

One of the biggest questions we’ve received is about hair salons. Many are operated such that the barber or hair stylist rents the chair in another person’s facility. If you are renting a chair in a salon you would qualify.

What we would need is a professional license showing you are a licensed stylist or barber with the state of Florida and the rent check that you pay to the salon.

If you operate out of a spare room in your home it would not qualify. You must be in a formal salon in a separate structure that is listed as a commercial structure in the property appraisers’ database.

I am a 1099 employee.  Do I qualify?

No, you are considered an employee, not a business owner. 

I employ 1099 workers at my business.  Do they count toward my 1-25 FTE employees?

Yes, all regular employees (reported on W-2s) and contract workers (reported on 1099s) count toward your maximum of 25 full-time equivalent employees.  The “Staffing Documentation” section on the application form will need to include both the W-3 summary (of all W-2 forms) and the 1096 summary (of all 1099 forms) if you employ both types of workers. 

What if I own my own business, but have no employees?

As long as you meet all of the other eligibility requirements, you may still apply for a grant.  As the business owner (or owners in the case of a partnership) you are considered the sole employee(s).  In the “Staffing Documentation” portion of the application you will be required to submit a statement certifying that you have no employees or contract workers. 

What other documents are acceptable for the “Staffing Documentation” section?

Besides the W-3 Summary (for multiple regular employees), the form 1096 (for multiple contract workers) and the IRS Form 941, you may also submit the IRS Schedule K-1 (this is another name for form 1096), or the Florida Department of Revenue RT-6 (similar to the federal Form 941).  Also, if you have only one or two W-2 employees you may simply attach copies of their W-2s.  And, if you have only one or two contract workers, you may attach copies of their individual 1099s. 

Do Airbnb and other short-term rentals qualify?

If you are renting a room or floor of your home that would not qualify.

If you have a separate investment structure that you own and are renting the entire separate stand-alone structure as an Airbnb property that would qualify.  It would only qualify if you are collecting and remitting the tourist development tax as required by law and that you are legally operating in your community.

Is my short-term rental property eligible for this grant, if I claim a homestead exemption?

No.  If you claim the homestead exemption on your short-term rental property, your business is not eligible for this grant.  In fact, because home-based businesses of any type are not eligible, the Principal Business Address on your application form cannot be homesteaded on the property appraiser’s records.

I own a condo unit in a complex at the beach and use a management company to rent it to vacationers.  Do I qualify?

No, you do not qualify.  In this case, the vacation rental management company is the one who would qualify for the grant; owners of individual units do not. You may qualify if you have multiple condo units other than your homesteaded property. 

Do sole proprietors qualify?

Sole proprietors with a commercial space may not consider themselves an employee, but if you are a one-person business [with a commercial space] you do qualify.

You must submit a signed IRS 1040 – Schedule C Form (or if you are an S-Corp or a lodging establishment, an IRS 1040 – Schedule E) through the application, and will also need to upload a short signed document certifying that you have no employees or contract workers other than yourself.  The upload function for this form will be under the “Staffing Documentation” section of the application.

The majority of home-based businesses are sole proprietors or contractors working for others on a 1099 basis. They do not qualify for this program but there are federal programs and state programs to help you. Please scroll down this page for directions to other resources.

Many sole proprietors with home-based businesses think that since they don’t qualify for unemployment compensation in normal times, they don’t qualify now, but there is a federal pandemic unemployment assistance program that is specifically for sole proprietors and contract workers that would not normally be covered. In Florida it’s called re-employment assistance,

Do contractors, plumbers and carpenters qualify for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant?

No, because they are an essential service and have been allowed to continue to operate.  This is true whether they have a physical commercial location, or they just operate out of their vehicles. Flooring, tile, door and window contractors also do not qualify.

Can I apply if my business was deemed nonessential?

Companies that were deemed non-essential under the statewide stay at home order and the county’s safer at home order and forced to close are eligible for the grants, so long as they meet other criteria.  If your business is not specifically mentioned as either essential or non-essential in these documents, but you had a commercial storefront and were forced to close it by a Sheriff’s deputy or police officer, you will likely qualify for a grant as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements.  Please attach evidence of the forced closure in the “Active State Business Registration” portion of the application. No business listed as essential will be eligible, except for restaurants and lodging establishments. 

Which essential businesses will qualify for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant?

There are only two essential business segments that qualify.

  • One is restaurants and food trucks, food service establishments. That is because they were allowed to remain open, but could only do carryout or delivery.  Many restaurants with seating indoors would have 50 employees before and they’re down to three or four now.  Their sales have slumped proportionately as well, so they’re taking significant losses.  We want to try to help those businesses continue to operate. They represent the sense of place we have in the community and are part of what makes Pinellas County unique.
  • The other one is the lodging establishments. Typically, this time of year occupancy in hotels and motels would be about 90%. Recently it’s been as low as 17%. That’s an 80% reduction in income. These establishments are a significant part of our economy.  We want to keep those small lodging establishments operating, as they also add to our unique sense of place in Pinellas.

Do Wholesalers qualify?

No.  Businesses who sell goods or services to retailers or other businesses generally do not qualify.  Only businesses that have physical storefronts in retail areas or on retail corridors and were open to the general public during typical retail hours can possibly qualify.  Businesses must primarily sell to consumers in the general public, and must primarily do so in a face-to-face setting, rather than online.

Do Commercial Kitchens, Bakeries and Caterers qualify?

It depends.  If they have their own event space such as a banquet hall, they would qualify.  If they have a retail storefront on premises at which they sold goods and that kept typical retail hours before COVID, it would qualify.  However, if they primarily prepared food products on site and then delivered them elsewhere (to a retailer or event space), they would not qualify.

Do photographers qualify?

Possibly.  But, only if you have a physical storefront in a retail area or retail corridor and kept typical retail hours.  You must have used the studio space for portraits and other photography.  Freelance photographers operating out of their homes or out of office or warehouse space would not qualify.

What types of healthcare related services would qualify?

Only those in retail storefronts that exclusively offer cosmetic or elective procedures.  Typically, these would only include med spa services such as therapeutic massage and acupuncture not under the care of a licensed MD or DO.  Clinics and practices of doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, psychiatrists, and mental health or addiction counselors would not qualify.

Do Nonprofits qualify?

None of the 501(c) organizations of any kind would quality for this grant, as of right now.

Pinellas County will continue to assess how we can assist nonprofits, that are essential in addressing the needs of our community. We want to ensure they are adequately funded. We will consider assistance through other processes

Will Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations qualify?

Business associations like chambers of commerce or industry associations are membership associations paid for by the dues of their members. They were not required to close.  Some of their public events and fundraisers will be impacted.  This does not diminish the importance of these organizations within our community.  All of us have been impacted.  In this first phase we need to quickly and efficiently disperse funding with an audit trail to the most heavily impacted businesses and individuals

Are charter boat businesses eligible to apply for this grant?

Charter Boats used for sightseeing, dining and recreational fishing were required to cease operations by the Sheriff. 

  • The owner should submit a copy of their captain’s license and/or slip rental receipt to document location and type of business.  Attach the captain’s license and/or slip rental receipt under the “Active State Business Registration” category on the application.  
  • Captains should use their marina address, as their Principal Business Address.  The address on the W-9 must match the Mailing Address for the check, whether that is the marina or a home address.  You will not qualify if you dock the boat at your residential property; you must rent a slip at a marina.
  • Commercial fishing is considered essential and will not qualify for the grant.

Are businesses located in a shared work space or co-work space address eligible?

Only if that space is of a retail storefront nature, such as a food hall.  Most tenants of co-working spaces are not retail in nature and would likely not qualify for the grant. 

I sell my goods or services at a flea market.  Does my business qualify?I sell my goods or services at a flea market.  Does my business qualify?

Maybe.  Your “Principal Business Address” must be a flea market and not your home address.  And, you must have the equivalent of a full-time storefront location.  You must show that you rent space at one or more flea markets for a total of at least 40 hours each week.  Attach the rental documentation to the “Active State Business Registration” section of the application. 

Are realtors registered as S-Corps with their home address as a business location eligible?

Realtors do not qualify.  Realtors were specifically listed under Essential Businesses, and not required to close.

Are churches eligible for this grant?

Churches are not eligible.  In Section 7 of the Safer at Home guidance, religious services are considered essential. 


The Application

What documentation do I need to provide?

  • Completed W-9 form for business
  • Copy of your “active” state business registration from Florida Division of Corporations (if applicable) or other documentation showing the business was operating prior to October 1, 2019 and meets all regulatory requirements from Pinellas County or the municipality in which the business is located.  Depending on your circumstance and business type, this may include a license from the Florida Department of Professional Regulation, a license from the Health Department, a Captain’s license, rental documentation, and/or evidence of forced closure by a public safety officer.
  • 2019 Financial Records/Tax Return – whichever form is applicable to your type of legal business entity (IRS Schedule C, IRS Schedule E, Form 1120, Form 1120-S, Form 1065).  If you haven’t yet filed for the 2019 tax year, you will also be required to provide a balance sheet or profit and loss statement for 2019.
  • Updated and current Municipal Business Tax Receipt, if applicable. If you are located in unincorporated Pinellas County or a city without a Municipal Business Tax Receipt (Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Shores, Kenneth City and Redington Beach), you are still eligible for this grant.
  • For short-term lodging establishments and vacation rental management companies that collect and remit Tourist Development Tax, tourist development tax receipt or canceled check for the last payment made, or submit proof that a reservation service paid the tax on your behalf.
  • W-3 summary, 1096 (Schedule K-1) or current IRS Form 941 (or Florida Form RT-6) if you had any employees other than yourself.  If you are the only employee, you will need to certify that fact using the form provided in the application.  If you had less than three employees, you may submit their individual W-2s or 1099s.

Important NOTE for business applicants regarding the information on your W-9 form.

Review your W-9 form closely.  For your application to be approved, the form must be completed correctly and each field you enter on your application must match the information on your W-9 exactly.

1. Form 1040, Schedule C (or if short-term lodging, a Schedule E)

  • Then, you are an individual, a sole proprietor or a single member LLC and you should check that box in section 3 of the W-9 and B.13. on the application.
  • Put your personal given name (as shown on the Schedule C or E) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  • Include your “Doing Business As” name (if you have one) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  • The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  • Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your personal social security number (SSN), and this same SSN should be entered on line B.5. of your application.

2. Form 1065

  • Then, you are a partnership or a “Limited Liability Company – P.”
    • If you are an LLC, you should check that box on the second line in section 3 of the W-9 and type the letter “P” in the blank to the right.  Also, you should check the “Partnership” box on B.13. of the application.
    • Otherwise, you should check the “Partnership” box on the first line of section 3 of the W-9 and on line b.13. of the application.
  • Put the legal name of your partnership (as it appears on Form 1065) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  • Include your “Doing Business As” name (if different from the partnership name) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  • The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  • Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your Employer Identification Number (EIN) as it appears on Form 1065, and this same EIN should be entered on line B.5. of your application. Do not use your Social Security Number.

3. Form 1120

  • Then, you are a C Corporation or a “Limited Liability Company – C.”
    • If you are an LLC, you should check that box on the second line in section 3 of the W-9 and type the letter “C” in the blank to the right.  Also, you should check the “Corporation” box on B.13. of the application.
    • Otherwise, you should check the “C Corporation” box on the first line of section 3 of the W-9 and the “Corporation” box on line b.13. of the application.
  • Put the legal name of your corporation (as it appears on Form 1120) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  • Include your “Doing Business As” name (if different from the corporation name) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  • The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  • Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your Employer Identification Number (EIN) as it appears on Form 1120, and this same EIN should be entered on line B.5. of your application. Do not use your Social Security Number.

4. Form 1120S

  • Then, you are an S Corporation or a “Limited Liability Company – S.”
    • If you are an LLC, you should check that box on the second line in section 3 of the W-9 and type the letter “S” in the blank to the right.  Also, you should check the “Corporation” box on B.13. of the application.
    • Otherwise, you should check the “S Corporation” box on the first line of section 3 of the W-9 and the “Corporation” box on line b.13. of the application.
  • Put the legal name of your corporation (as it appears on Form 1120S) in Box 1 of the W-9 and on B.1. on the application.
  • Include your “Doing Business As” name (if different from the corporation name) in Box 2 of the W-9 and on B.2. of the application.
  • The address on lines 5 and 6 of the W-9 must match the “Mailing Address for the Grant Check” on line B.6. of the application.
  • Your “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)” on Part I of the W-9 will be your Employer Identification Number (EIN) as it appears on Form 1120S, and this same EIN should be entered on line B.5. of your application. Do not use your Social Security Number.

I own more than one business in Pinellas County. Can I apply for more than one grant?

Yes, you can qualify for a grant for each legal business entity. Each entity must occupy a separate physical storefront and have a unique business name.  You must provide separate financial statements and staffing documentation for each location.  If you are a private franchisee of a chain of food or retail establishments, you will qualify.  However, corporate-owned locations of franchised chains do not qualify. 

I have a Parent Holding Company that owns several businesses.  How should I complete the application process?

You will file a separate application for each of the “Child” companies.  Use the tax form filed by the Parent to report income to the IRS (Schedule C, Schedule E, 1065, 1120 or 1120S) as a Business Financials documentation in Section D of the application for each of the child companies.  You will also need to file a Profit & Loss Statement (P&L) for each child.  Each child business must occupy a separate physical storefront and have a unique business name.  All grant checks should be sent to the mailing address of the Parent, and the Parent’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) should be used on all of the W-9s and all of the applications. 

I own one or more commercial properties that I rent to others for them to conduct business on the premises.  Do I qualify for a grant?

No.  Landlords do not qualify, whether the businesses to which they rent space are essential or non-essential. 

How does the application and approval process work?

The software and staff will communicate directly with the applicant regarding any problems with the application or to confirm the application is eligible, denied or if it needs revisions to be approved. Applicants are encouraged to use the online portal to check the status of their application. Once an application is approved and processed for payment, the business owner will receive a check via U.S. mail to the mailing address provided in the application.

How do I apply?

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant applicants must submit an online form with financial documentation and payroll records – https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/business/pinellas-cares/pinellas-cares-small-business-grants/

How quickly will I receive my grant once approved?

Once an application is approved, businesses can expect to receive grant funds after payment processing and due diligence has been completed. Depending on the number of applicants, it may take several weeks from the start of application review until eligible business applicants will receive the approved funding.

Will my business be required to report how I spent funds that are awarded?

The County reserves the right to request such information. Also note that your business may be required to provide access to such records as may be necessary to prevent fraud or ensure compliance with federal requirements.

Can I apply for this loan through a local lending institution?

Local banks are not involved in the grant program, so no prior banking relationship is required.  Please apply directly through the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant portal.


Tips For Applicants

Are you applying for the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t rush to submit – the fastest way to get approved is to make sure your application and all documents are accurate and complete.
  2. Double-check that your current year documents are SIGNED, scanned & ready to upload.
  3. Make sure you have reviewed each screen before you select, “Complete and Continue.”
  4. If your application needs additional information or corrections, you will be contacted.
  5. You can track your progress within the approval process using the case number that is assigned by the system
  6. The County expects to have enough funding to provide one-time $5,000 grants to all those businesses that qualify.  
  7. Once you submit your application it is locked. So, please make sure you have included all of your documentation before you submit. 
  8. Don’t worry. A member of our staff will be in touch to discuss any issues they identify with your application. Thank you for your patience. 

When I check for my application’s status through the portal using my case number, what do the various “Status” indicators mean?

  • Application Submitted – You have successfully submitted your application form to the system.
  • Application Review in Progress – A County staff member is currently reviewing your application for accuracy, completeness and eligibility.
  • Returned for Corrections – A reviewer or auditor has identified some portion of your application or documentation that is missing, inaccurate, improperly completed or inconsistent with the grant guidelines.  They are working to correct this issue and will get in touch with you by email if necessary.
  • Completed Initial Review – The application has completed the first step in the process and is awaiting further review by the first audit team. 
  • Secondary Review in Progress – Our first audit team is actively reviewing your application.
  • Payment Pending Final Audit – Your application passed the first audit step and has been sent to the Finance office for possible payment.  The application will undergo one final audit check by staff of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller and the Inspector General.  If it passes this final step, a check will be mailed to the mailing address on your W-9 form.
  • Denied – Your business is not eligible for the current grant program or you were unable to provide the required documentation.  

Questions and Help With the Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant

What if I have questions about the application or whether my business qualifies?

Pinellas County is here to help. Email: businesshelp@pinellascounty.org or call (727) 453-7200 to receive a return phone call or email.

Questions will be answered in the order in which they are received.  Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, the County anticipates a high volume of applications.

Our Citizen Information Center, Commissioners’ Offices and other County contacts will share your query with staff at the above contacts to ensure you receive complete and accurate information.


Other Programs That May Be of Assistance to You or Your Business

Please note, the following programs are not under the purview or control of Pinellas County, but are resources from federal, state and municipal partners.

Businesses are encouraged to seek additional financial assistance for losses beyond what this grant may cover. The most up to date list of resources can be found here: www.pced.org/covid19loans.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit www.FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to apply and be considered for PUA. Questions can be directed to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity at 1-833-352-7759 or view more contact information.


Other Questions & Information

Why did the County set the grant amount at $5,000?

Pinellas County targeted this amount to provide meaningful financial relief to as many small businesses as possible. Based on the anticipated number of qualified small businesses in the county, an amount of $5,000 allows the County to help all eligible small businesses that may apply.

Businesses are encouraged to seek additional financial assistance for losses beyond what this grant may cover. The most up to date list of resources can be found here: www.pced.org/covid19loans.

Please remember: Pinellas CARES grants CANNOT be used to pay for business losses that are paid by insurance or another federal program.

To report Pinellas CARES Small Business Grant program fraud, waste, or abuse, contact the Division of Inspector General:

Public Integrity Unit Division of Inspector General
510 Bay Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33756

Call: (727) 45FRAUD (453-7283)
Fax: (727) 464-8386
fraudhotline@pinellascounty.org