The County of Hawaiʻi has received $80 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding and is quickly moving these critical dollars to maintain safe communities and to help families and businesses cover or recoup expenses arising from the COVID-19 emergency.
Under the CARES Act, funds may be used to reimburse the county in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency during the period of March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020 including expenditures incurred to respond directly to the emergency, such as addressing medical or public health needs. Funds may also be used to respond to second-order effects of the emergency, like economic support to those suffering from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19 related closures.
The county will allocate funds for business assistance in the following ways:
- Business and Nonprofit Assistance – Grants to support financial obligations including but not limited to rent, leases, mortgage, vehicle leases, master supply agreements and non-governmental utilities and reopening costs. $22,00,000
- Childcare – Grants to licensed childcare providers to support expansion of operations and incentives for new childcare providers; supplies including sanitation, disinfecting supplies, foggers, UV lights and temperature scanners. $2,500,000
- Food Assistance – Grants to nonprofits to purchase local farm produce, distribute to restaurants for meal preparation and delivery of meals to vulnerable families and other food need allocations. $3,992,000
- Connectivity Enhancement – County purchase of cellular on wheels and grants for micro-transmitters and tablets to support remote telework, businesses and education. $1,000,000
To support getting funds to the business community, the county will soon release a Request for Proposals. Financial institutions and nonprofit organizations with the capacity to quickly execute programs will be invited to apply. Contracts are expected to commence in early August, with work performed no later than December 30, 2020. Contractors must comply with all federal and state CARES ACT guidelines.
Once contracts are in place, small businesses and nonprofits which lost income because they were required to shut down as a nonessential business, or lost revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic and government proclamations, would be eligible to apply for assistance through the financial institutions or managing organizations. Eligible expenditures may be backdated to March 1, 2020.
See the Department of Research and Development’s Coronavirus Relief Fund information webpage at www.hawaiicounty.gov/cares for more information and related documents.
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