A sign in the window of Neighborhood Books and Gifts in downtown Hermiston announces a pandemic-related closure on April 6, 2020.

Umatilla County businesses can now apply to receive economic support from the state-funded CARES Act, which provided the county with up to $1.18 million in funds to be distributed to businesses that have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses can apply for support until Dec. 15 on Umatilla County’s website. The county “encourages applications from veterans, women, Black, indigenous, people of color, and tribal-owned businesses.”

Businesses that will receive priority in receiving financial support will include those in the hospitality industry, such as restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, hotels and motels. Other priority businesses will include those which had to shut down due to the two-week “freeze” initiated by Gov. Kate Brown, including fitness and entertainment establishments like gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and museums.

The amount of money that a business will receive will vary depending on the type of business and the economic impact COVID-19 has had. And businesses hoping to receive funds must meet a variety of requirements.

The business must be headquartered and operate in the county, be required by law to be registered with the Oregon Secretary of State and be for-profit or tax-exempt under section 501©3 of the internal revenue code.

The business must also have also been either prohibited from operating during the two-week freeze initiated by Gov. Kate Brown, or show the pandemic caused at least a 25% decline in sales between March 1 and Nov. 30 in comparison to 2019.

The business must also employ 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.

Certain companies will be ineligible to receive support. These include passive real estate holding companies, nonprofits that are not tax-exempt and businesses that have experienced a non-COVID-related decline in sales.

Businesses that are delinquent on taxes due on or before the date of the application will also be ineligible, as will those that do not comply with federal, state and local laws.

Businesses that have closed and do not intend to reopen, and “adult-oriented businesses that derive a majority of income from gambling activities,” will also be ineligible to receive support.

The county intends to have the checks in the mail by Dec. 30.

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