Malheur County will begin a financial program to help local businesses hit hard by Covid Wednesday. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – The Malheur County Court selected more than 50 local businesses and restaurants to receive Covid relief payments Wednesday.

The checks – part of a $768,000 Covid funding package from the state – will be cut and mailed today and Thursday.

DOCUMENT: List of businesses getting grants

The money will arrive not a moment too soon for many county businesses that continue to struggle because of the Covid pandemic.

The deadline to apply for the program was Dec. 23 and the county received 86 applications seeking $1.8 million - more than twice the amount of money available.

An informal committee including Stephanie Williams, Malheur County counsel, Greg Geddes, director of environmental health, County Planner Eric Evans, Lorinda DuBoise, county chief administrative officer, county commissioner Larry Wilson and Commissioner elect Ron Jacobs prioritized the funding requests. The relief will be dispensed in the form of a grant, with the amount based on a businesses’ number of full-time employees.

The grants run a gamut from $40,000 to $2,500.

Officials said that based on Gov. Kate Brown’s guidance, the priority for the local money will be the restaurant and lodging industry, gyms and businesses required to close because of the governor’s Covid restrictions.

The county said there are 150 eligible businesses just in the hospitality industry in the county.

Williams said applications from businesses that did not meet the requirement will be kept on file in case there is another relief package.

“Every single application was important to us and it demonstrates that there is an economic need in our community,” Williams told the court last week.

To qualify for the program, a business must be based in Malheur County and, according to the county, report a drop of at least 25% in sales from 2019.

Previous coverage:

Applications for business relief funds pour into Malheur County

County set to release more than $700,000 in relief funds for local businesses

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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