Fairfax County officials have created a fund to support small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Board of Supervisors approved creating the “Fairfax County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Microloan Fund” during their meeting today (Tuesday). The board expects the loan program to be ready by May 1, according to county documents.
The program allows the Community Business Partnership (CBP) to distribute roughly $1.2 million to eligible small businesses in the county. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees make up about 94 percent of businesses in the county, according to the documents.
Businesses who undergo a pre-submission counseling session will be able to apply for loans up to $20,000 and will be able to use the money for things like rent, equipment and critical cash operating expenses. The loans will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, the documents say.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said the county’s program complements federal aid, including financial assistance from the Small Business Administration.
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity said he was concerned about the administrative costs of operating the county’s program. He also proposed an amendment requiring the CBP to direct small business owners to seek federal aid prior to seeking local assistance.
McKay said Herrity’s amendment, which did not pass, was not necessary because the CBP already encourages individuals to seek federal avenues for help. He also noted that many businesses are falling through the cracks due to the limits of federal assistance, including delays in the rollout of funds.
Other county officials encouraged the county to reach as many affected businesses as possible.
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said he hopes the program champions “administrative flexibility” in order to help out businesses with between two and 10 employees.
The funding for the program is coming from $2.5 million in the Economic Opportunity Reserve to support economic relief efforts.
Staff in the Department of Economic Initiatives will monitor the distribution of the funds to figure out how to use the remaining $1.28 million, according to county documents. After 45 days, staff will let the board know if they recommend additional funds for the program.
McKay also directed county staff to explore additional relief options for businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Catherine Douglas Moran and Fatimah Waseem contributed to this story.
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