Okla. County to begin distributing CARES Act funds to help struggling small businesses

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There is help for struggling businesses and non-profits amid the ongoing pandemic as valuable Cares Act dollars begin to be distributed to those in need in Oklahoma County.

In The Village, mom-and-pop businesses like Papa Dios say they are down as much as 80% during the pandemic.

“Come COVID, everything has changed- everything has changed,” said Candace Gideo.

Papa Dios has been around since the late 70s but since the pandemic hit…

“It’s very difficult as a small biz (sic) owner. There isn’t a corporate number that I can all up say ‘hey, put 10k in my account to cover my expenses,’” said Gideo.

Gideo says she did get federal PPP money this spring, but that only goes so far. Her business is still struggling.

She says there were only 5 tables served last Saturday night when they would normally have 25 tables full.

“You just try to take care of your employees as best you can ’cause they are struggling a whole lot more than you are,” said Gideo.

But now, thanks to a recent vote by County Commissioners, some $15 million of Oklahoma County Cares Act money is now available in grants to small business owners.

“We see a lot of restaurants, a lot of business service companies. Hair salons, lots of personal service types of places,” said Cathy O’Conner, head of the Alliance for Economic Development, the agency in charge of processing the grant request.

The Alliance says it’s open to businesses in Oklahoma County that aren’t in OKC proper with 100 or fewer employees.

The funds are there to reimburse expenses or lost revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic up to $100 thousand.

“It’s going to be really important that businesses submit a complete application with all the required documentation and that includes their 2019 tax return,” said O’Connor.

The window to apply is small- it closes December 7th or when funds run out.

But for small business owners like Gideo, it’s worth filling out those forms quickly.

“Grateful, very grateful. We all want to survive this craziness,” said Gideo.

To start filling out the forms go to okcountygrants.com.

Officials tell us some 300 businesses that applied for the Oklahoma City grants that didn’t get them because they weren’t technically in Oklahoma City proper, have been contacted to apply.

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