PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Businesses in Palm Beach County on Friday began to apply for grants and forgivable loans as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
The act was passed in March by the federal government to aid state and local governments in their recovery from the financial impact from COVID-19.
Last month, Palm Beach County was allocated $261 million through the federal stimulus program.
The county is using $50 million to help small businesses that have 25 employees or less, and $10 million to help businesses that have more than 25 employees. Each business can receive up to $25,000.
By noon Friday, more than 1,500 applications have already been submitted to receive funding.
Businesses can apply for money through the CARES Act until June 12 on Palm Beach County's website.
“As soon as I logged on, it crashed. I mean I’m assuming that a lot of people were on at the same time,” said Crazytrain CrossFit gym owner Billy Noethig.
He is one of more than 4,000 people who registered on the Palm Beach County’s Cares For Business site for a chance to be approved for grant money.
Noethig said after a few tries he was able to get into the system and submit his application.
“This is definitely going to go toward recovering the losses,” said Noethig.
Roseann Fuschetto, a West Palm Beach hair stylist and independent contractor, also had some issues early on.
“When I clicked on it, it came back as the user email and password invalid,” said Fuschetto.
She never received an activation link but received a call back from someone who helped her get signed in.
“We want to encourage you to be patient as we go through. Because when we opened, there were over 13,000 people on that portal, and so it takes time,” said Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker.
Fuschetto said she was unable to get unemployment and said even getting back to styling in the salon will be challenging with fewer appointments at one time.
“We’re able to do quite a few people, but in this situation, we only can possibly do maybe two because the work that I do, a lot of color, a lot of highlighting, so it takes hours,” said Fuschetto.
She and her assistant are now looking to restart their salon in June.
Below is a full breakdown of how the county said they will use the CARES Act money: