Routt County approves almost $800K in COVID-19 relief for businesses and nonprofits |

Routt County approves almost $800K in COVID-19 relief for businesses and nonprofits

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County commissioners approved almost $800,000 in relief funds for local businesses and nonprofits Thursday, throwing a buoy to businesses that have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Absent progress on federal aid in Washington and with increased restrictions forcing restaurants to close their doors to indoor dining, the county allocated $661,000 for the business community and $125,000 for nonprofits.

Businesses are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in relief grants and nonprofits can get up to $5,000. Applications are available now and the deadline for businesses is noon on Dec. 10, and for nonprofits, the deadline is 5 p.m. Dec. 14.

“We understand the challenges that our business and nonprofit community have faced during this long-term pandemic,” said Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan. “We worked with the state to secure funding to ensure that organizations can survive this pandemic and employers and employees get the financial assistance they need to survive these unprecedented times.”

The county was able to apply for additional CARES Act funding, which allowed county leaders to reallocate some funding from the money they had already received.

To be eligible for the assistance businesses and nonprofits need to have been operating before March of this year, need to have been compliant with public health orders and need to commit to complying with orders in the future.

The money cannot be used for any expenses that were already paid for by other sources like the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation have each set up committees to review applications and make recommendations to commissioners about who should receive the grants.

“Financial assistance is a key component to small business survival. and we are pleased to see Routt County making funds available through these relief grants,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO Kara Stoller. “While this is a fast application process and short timeline, we know how important it is to get these dollars to businesses as quickly as possible.”

Commissioners will use recommendations to decide which funding requests to approve, and funds should be dispersed to businesses and nonprofits by Jan. 13, 2021.

State lawmakers also passed COVID-19 aid for businesses Thursday, approving a $37 million bill for restaurants and other small businesses that are under strict capacity limits. Restaurants also will be allowed to keep the 2.9% state sales tax they collect rather than paying it to the state.

Nonprofits have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic with increased need for their services while being barred from holding fundraisers because of gathering restrictions.

Nonprofits have reported drops from 25% to over 60% in revenue, according to Tim Wohlgenant, executive director of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation. Even nonprofits with diverse funding sources are struggling to find revenue.

“Along with greatly increased pressure on private philanthropy, public funding has also declined or disappeared along with state and local budgets,” Wohlgenant said. “This CARES Act funding will help ease the economic fallout from those effects and comes at a critical time, when these organizations are striving to meet their year-end budgets.”

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