The Ready2Open Small Business Assistance Program has been developed to provide local small businesses that have experienced a loss in revenue due to COVID-19 and qualifying non-profits with financial assistance for the reimbursement of eligible COVID-19-related operating expenses and to cover expenses related to implementing COVID-19 health and safety measures within business.

Eligible Uses

Funding may be used to cover the following eligible business expenses incurred between March 19, 2020 and the date of the application:

  • Certain payroll costs: Grant funding may be used to reimburse employers for unemployment insurance costs and increases in workers’ compensation costs incurred by the employer due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Grant funding may also be used to reimburse small businesses for payroll expenses realized as a result of the business closure required by the public health emergency.
  • Rent / Lease costs: Unfunded expenditures for rent/lease costs realized during the required closure of a small business are an eligible use of grant funds.
  • Inventory or supplies required to safely reopen the business: Personal protective equipment, unfunded expenditures for the costs related to the reconfiguring of workspaces to accommodate social distancing, disinfectants, sanitizers, and expenditures to adapt spaces for outdoor services/dining.

 Eligibility Requirements

  1. Applicants shall be a:
    • for-profit business physically located, operating, and headquartered in Merced County with a demonstrated economic need and negatively impacted by COVID-19. For-profit applicants must attest to a loss of net revenue as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Merced County corporate franchisees are eligible to apply; or
    • non-profit business physically located, operating, and headquartered in Merced County with a demonstrated economic need and negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  2. Business must have 25 full-time employees or fewer. Self-employed business owners are eligible.
  3. Applicants must demonstrate that the business has been operating on or prior March 19, 2020 (business license, utility bill, or lease agreement).
  4. Applicants must be in good standing with Merced County and the city in which their business is located.
  5. Applications for businesses who have not received a SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan, a SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), or other COVID-19 related grants or loans will be prioritized. The Reopen Merced County Fund grant will not impact the priority of the application.
  6. Selected businesses will be required to sign a contract to be carried out throughout the term of the grant.
  7. Applicants must submit a signed and current W-9 form.

Grant Award and Administration

  1. The Merced County Small Business Grant Program will be administered by the Merced County Workforce Development Board.
  2. Grants will be allocated in amounts up to $50,000 per small business as defined.
  3. Grants will be limited to one (1) per small business as defined.
  4. Grants will be accepted beginning August 17, 2020 through September 20, 2020.
  5. The $3 million will be distributed evenly between County Supervisorial Districts at $600,000 per district. In the event that there are not a sufficient number of eligible recipients in a given district received by September 20, 2020, the balance of that district’s allocation will be redistributed evenly between those districts that have a surplus of applicants.
  6. Eligible grant recipients will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Submission of an incomplete or inaccurate application may result in ineligibility for program funding.

Before beginning your application, please review the Frequently Asked Questions for more eligibility information and the documents you will be required to submit with your application.

We have worked hard to ensure that the application can be completed in a single session. We encourage you to have all of the necessary documents available when you begin the application. Once you have gathered all of the required documents and receipts for the expenses you are seeking reimbursement for, please click below to begin your application.

If you’re on your mobile device, take photos of your required documents before you start.

For more information or questions related to your application, please contact:

Ranjeev Dosanjh
Worknet Merced County

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