WENATCHEE — Small businesses in Chelan County can apply for up to $5,000 in reimbursement grants to help offset the impacts of COVID-19.

The Chelan County Commission allocated $920,000 from its share of federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funds for the program, which is being administered by the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority.

Douglas County approved a similar grant program June 5, committing $1 million for small businesses, with a cap of $10,000 each. The port so far has processed six applications using those funds. Applications are still being accepted.

Chelan County’s program is similar, said Port Authority Executive Director Jim Kuntz, but with a cap of $5,000, which will allow the funds to be distributed to more businesses.

“The program is just now being approved by the county,” Kuntz said Monday, the day the applications opened. “The county has other uses for the CARES Act money. The Regional Jail is one of them. So, they needed to take some time on how the money was going to be allocated.”

The city of Cashmere also used its CARE Act funds to implement a small business grant program, also with a $5,000 cap.

The federal relief funds are limited to COVID-19-related issues and expenses. Grants are available to small businesses in Chelan County with 20 or fewer full-time employees.

To qualify, businesses must be licensed by the state and have been in business for at least six months.

Applications in both English and Spanish are available at cdrpa.org.

The posted criteria includes a note that if a business has a “compelling need for additional funding,” grants up to $10,000 may be considered.

The money can be used to cover operational expenses such as rent, supplies, inventory and utility bills, and costs required to reopen. Those costs include the purchase of masks, gloves, thermometers, washing stations, sanitation supplies and the installation of protective covers such as plexiglass. It also covers marketing and advertising expenses. It doesn’t cover payroll.

In all, the port authority is administering $2.8 million in pandemic shut-down relief throughout Chelan and Douglas counties. The total includes a state grant program, community development block grants and funds from the port’s own tax revenue.

Chelan County received a total of $4.3 million in CARES Act funding. Douglas County received $2.3 million.

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151