Small Business
Relief Program

Monterey County CARES

Monterey County CARES logo and Monterey County logoMonterey County, through its Monterey County CARES Small Business Relief Program, is providing financial assistance to local small businesses that have experienced a loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

This program provides up to $10,000 in grant-funded reimbursement to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees for eligible COVID-19 related operating expenses.

NOTE: The application period has now closed.

  The Application Period Has Now Closed

Program Overview

Monterey County, through its Monterey County CARES Small Business Relief Program, is providing financial assistance to local small businesses that have experienced a loss of revenue due to COVID-19.

This program provides up to $10,000 in grant-funded reimbursement to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees for eligible COVID-19 related operating expenses.

Funding may be used to cover eligible business expenses incurred from March 18, 2020 through December 11, 2020. Eligible expenses include payroll costs, rent/lease costs, and inventory or supplies.

NOTE: The application period is now closed. Notification of approval will be sent no later than November 20, 2020.

Monterey County CARES Fact Sheet & FAQs

About the Program:

On October 13, 2020, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors established a Small Business Relief Program funded with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds. The Monterey County CARES Small Business Relief Program (SBRP) will be administered by the Monterey County Workforce Development Board (MCWDB). The purpose of the Monterey County CARES SBRP is to assist qualifying small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis by providing cash reimbursements for eligible expenses.

Grant Amounts:

Up to $10,000 awards for approximately 40-50 businesses

Application Period:

Monday, November 2, 2020 – Sunday, November 15, 2020

Eligible Businesses:

  • Owned, operated, and headquartered in Monterey County
  • 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees or fewer
  • Negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and demonstrated economic need
  • In good standing with Monterey County and the City in which the business operates
  • Were operating on or prior to March 18, 2020
  • For-profit
  • Priority given to (but not limited to):
    • Businesses located in unincorporated areas (outside of city limits)
    • Businesses that have NOT previously received CARES Act or other types of COVID-19 relief funds (for example, Paycheck Protection Program grants or loans)
    • Businesses in industries disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis

Eligible Expenses:

  • Grant awards are paid in the form of reimbursements made upon review of receipts and other required documentation (awardees will not receive grant funds without submission of documentation required for reimbursement)
  • Expenses incurred between March 18 and December 11, 2020 (may be reimbursed retroactively back to the date of the county’s first shelter-in-place order)
  • Expenses must be unfunded, meaning the business has not already received financial assistance to pay for the expenses submitted for reimbursement
  • Types of expenses may include:
    • Payroll expenses during period of economic impact
    • Rent or lease payments made during period of economic impact
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or other equipment/supplies used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen or continue operation

Application Process:

  • The application period was November 2 – 15, 2020.
  • Notification of approval will be sent no later than November 20.
  • You will be required to sign a contract if you are awarded the grant.

Reimbursement Process:

If your application is accepted, a contract and more detailed information about the reimbursement process will be sent to you. Awardees who have submitted a signed contract may then submit documentation of eligible expenses for reimbursement.

  • Receipts for reimbursement of eligible expenses must show proof of purchase between March 18 and December 11, 2020.
  • Deadline for submission of receipts: December 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Copies of original receipts or other proof of payment may be submitted in the following ways:

  • With the online application (applicants who are seeking reimbursement of expenses retroactively are encouraged to upload receipts at the time of completing the online application in order to expedite payment in the case that the application is approved);
  • Via email (as attachments in PDF, JPEG, PNG file formats) sent to (after approval of application);
  • Via mail to Monterey County Workforce Development Board, 344 Salinas Street, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901 (must be postmarked by 12/14/2020 at the latest); or
  • In person at the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, 344 Salinas Street, Suite 101, Salinas, CA 93901.

Awardees may be subject to monitoring in the form of site visits and/or audits to ensure valid use of grant funds.

Technical Assistance:

Contact the Monterey County Workforce Development Board at for assistance.

See below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).



Note: These FAQs may be updated periodically as additional questions are received and posted at


Q1. How much grant funding may I request? Is the size of the grant limited?

You may request any amount of funding up to $10,000. Your request must align with the economic impact described in your application and match the total amount of eligible expenses you submit for reimbursement.

Q2. How is the amount of the award determined?

Each award is based on:

  • the amount requested by the applicant;
  • verification of the eligibility of the business;
  • the economic impact the business experienced due to the COVID-19 crisis; and
  • validation of the expenses submitted for reimbursement.


Q3. What documentation must I provide to apply?

In the application you must enter your IRS-issued Employer Identification Number and Business License Number (if applicable). You must also upload the following documentation with the online application:

  • a copy of your current IRS W-9 Form;
  • a copy of your Business License (if applicable) or other proof of business, such as your 2019 Federal Tax Return showing business income (including Schedule C, if applicable); and
  • proof of your current number of employees, such as recent payroll records.

Note: You MUST submit payroll records as proof of your number of employees, even if you are not seeking payroll expense reimbursement.

Remember: You MUST redact any personal employee information in the payroll records, such as their Social Security Numbers.

Q4. How can I show Proof of Business?

If you are in an incorporated area, you must upload a copy of both your Business License and Schedule C of your 2019 Federal Tax Return. If you are in an unincorporated area, you only need to provide your Business License.

Q5. How do I calculate the total number of employees?

For the purpose of this grant application, 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees may be comprised of a combination of full time and part time employees. An employee who works an average of 30 hours per week is considered full-time. Independent contractors are not considered employees.

Q6. What kind of documentation is needed to show the number of employees, both current and prior to March 18, 2020 (pre-COVID-19 crisis)?

Submit payroll records that support the number of employees reported and evidence of the number of hours these employees work/worked per week. Payroll records showing current number of employees (as evidence that at least one and less than 50 employees are employed by the business at the time of application, which is an eligibility requirement) and number of employees prior to March 18 (as evidence of economic impact due to the COVID-19 crisis) are required by all applicants, even those who will not be seeking payroll reimbursement.

Q7. I have already received financial assistance during the COVID-19 crisis – will that impact my eligibility?

You may apply for this SBRP grant even if you have previously received financial assistance for COVID-19 crisis-related relief, whether it was in the form of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a small business grant from the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, or other COVID-19 related grants or loans. However, priority will be given to businesses who have NOT received such financial assistance before.

Note: Although you are eligible to apply if you have received COVID-19-related financial assistance in the past, expenses that were already funded by prior financial assistance will NOT be eligible for reimbursement. Only unfunded expenses are eligible.

Q8. What does it mean to be “in good standing” with the County? How does that impact my eligibility?

Any business that is not in good standing will not be eligible for a SBRP grant.

A business in good standing:

  • Must have an active business license with an incorporated jurisdiction/city within Monterey County (businesses in unincorporated areas may not have business licenses, and some other businesses may be exempt depending on location or type of business);
  • Must not be in breach of contract or agreement with the County or one of its incorporated cities;
  • Must not have unpaid or delinquent property taxes; however, those with existing payment plans already in place at the time of application may still apply; and
  • Must be fully compliant with all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Q9. Are grants only being awarded to businesses in certain industry sectors?

Eligibility is not restricted to specific industry sectors. However, businesses in industry sectors that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, such as those in the Hospitality industry, will be prioritized.

Q10. My business is located in a city (incorporated area) – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you may apply whether your business is located in an incorporated area or unincorporated area. However, businesses in unincorporated areas will be given priority.

Q11. My business has multiple locations – can I apply for more than one grant?

No, not unless the different locations are separate businesses each with their own individual business licenses and/or Tax ID numbers.

Q12. My business is not located in Monterey County, but I am a Monterey County resident – am I eligible to apply?

No. The business must be operated and headquartered in Monterey County in order to be eligible.

Q13. My business is located in Monterey County, but I am not a Monterey County resident – am I eligible to apply?

Yes. As long as the business is operated and headquartered in Monterey County it is eligible.

Q14. Are non-profit organizations eligible to apply?

No, non-profit organizations are not eligible for the SBRP grants.

Q15. Are religious organizations eligible to apply?

For-profit businesses are eligible, whereas non-profit organizations are not eligible.

Q16. I am self-employed or an independent contractor – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as your business is considered to have at least one (1) full-time equivalent employee and meets all other criteria.

Q17. I am a local franchisee – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, as long as your company is headquartered in Monterey County.

Q18. Why might I NOT qualify for a grant?

Reasons for which a business may not qualify include:

  • More than 50 full-time employees (Full Time Equivalent) or fewer than 1 full-time employee
  • Not owned, operated, and headquartered in Monterey County
  • Not in good standing with Monterey County or the City in which located
  • Was not in operation on or before March 18, 2020
  • Negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 crisis not demonstrated
  • Required documentation not provided
  • Incomplete application
  • Non-profit

Note: Businesses that do not qualify for a SBRP grant may be eligible for a Monterey County Workforce Development Board (MCWDB) Rapid Response small business grant. Contact the MCWDB at for more information.


Q19. What documentation is needed to substantiate the expenses claimed in my application and submitted for reimbursement?

Payroll expenses:

  • Payroll reports for actual payroll expenses incurred during period of impact (no earlier than March 18, 2020) for which the business is seeking reimbursement. Examples include payroll reports, payroll detail reports, pay stubs, or other records such as bank statements showing that payroll costs have been paid. If you are a sole proprietor or are self-employed with no other employees, you may upload your 2019 Tax Return as proof of your employment.
  • Rent / Lease expenses:
  • Bank statements or check stubs showing rent/lease/mortgage payments made during period of impact (no earlier than March 18, 2020)
  • Copy of signed lease/mortgage

Inventory or supplies required to safely reopen the business:

  • Invoices and proof of payment, such as receipts, bank statements, credit card statements, or check stubs for expenditures related to personal protective equipment, purchases to accommodate workspaces for social distancing, disinfectants, sanitizers, etc., and expenditures to adapt spaces for outdoor services/dining. All receipts must include the business’ information.

Q20. What if the expenses I incurred during the stated period of impact total less than $10,000?

Funding requests may be less than $10,000. Requests should be aligned with the economic impact reflected in your application and should not exceed the total amount of unfunded eligible expenses for which your business is able to submit required documentation. An awardee will only receive funding to reimburse expenses for which they are able to provide proof of payment, up to $10,000 or up to the amount of funds originally requested in the application.

Q21. Can I use the grant funds to pay for business expenses incurred prior to March 18, 2020?

No. Only unfunded expenses incurred during the period of economic reported in your application, which may not be prior to March 18, 2020, are eligible for reimbursement.

Q22. Can I use the grant funds to pay for equipment or supplies that are not considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Yes. In addition to receiving grant funds for reimbursement of PPE (such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.), eligible expenses include other types of equipment or supplies used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and needed for the business to safely reopen or continue operating safely during the pandemic.

APPLICATIONS (The application period is now closed.)

Q23. Who may apply on behalf of my business?

Either the business owner or someone who has signatory authority for the business should sign and submit the application. Only one application per business entity is permitted.

Q24. How do I submit the required documentation with the application?

Documents should be uploaded as attachments (as PDF, JPEG, or PNG files) when completing the online application.

Q25. May I send my application by mail?

Yes. Applications may be submitted online, or mailed to/dropped off at the MCWDB office at 344 Salinas Street, Salinas, CA 93901. NOTE: If you choose to apply by mail, your application must be postmarked by Saturday, November 14, 2020. No late applications will be considered.

Q26. What languages is the application available in?

The application is available in English and Spanish.

Q27. Can I apply if I do not have access to a computer?

The application is mobile-friendly so it may be completed on a smart phone or tablet.

Q28. How long will it take to fill out the application?

Approximately 20 minutes (if all information and documentation is on hand to enter/upload).

Q29. If I start my application online and have to stop, does it save my information, or will I need to start over?

No, the application must be completed in one sitting (if you exit out of the application page without submitting it, your information will not be saved, and you must start over).

Q30. Is the information I am submitting online secure?

Yes, your information will remain secure. (Be sure to only upload or send documents in PDF or JPEG file formats. Do not send Microsoft Word, Excel, or other types of files.)

Q31. Will I get a confirmation that my application was received?

Yes. You will receive confirmation via email (to the primary contact email address listed in your application) that your application was received. You will also receive a communication via email after your application is reviewed – by November 20 at the latest – informing you of the acceptance or denial of your application.


Will awards (recipients and amounts) be made public? Will applicants have to contact the office to get information or will the information be posted online?

All applicants will receive notification via email of the acceptance or denial of their application by November 20 (to the email address listed in the online application). A report to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will serve as public record of the recipients and amounts awarded.

Are non-profit organizations eligible?

No, non-profit organizations are not eligible for these funds at this time. Non-profits are eligible, however, for the MCWDB’s Rapid Response Small Business Grants. You may find more information about that on our website (

Will there be an application in Spanish?

Yes. The Application and the Fact Sheet/FAQs are available in Spanish on the program webpage ( A Spanish-language version of the webpage is also available.

Is this a loan or a grant? Will it have to be paid back?

It is a grant and does not have to be paid back. (Note: The funds would have to be returned if the recipient was found to have provided false information or broken their agreement in some way.)

Can grant funds be used to pay taxes owed or business license fees?

This funding may not be used to pay for (or reimburse for) business license fees or tax payments, and awardees must be in good standing with the County and City in which it is located (if located in an incorporated area). A business that is in good standing has current business license (if applicable) and is up-to-date on tax payments or has a repayment agreement in place.

How do you choose who gets the grant?

Funding decisions are based on eligibility, economic need, and funding requests.

Where is the Invoice template?

The Invoice template is posted on the website and also embedded within the online application. It will also be emailed to awardees when they receive notification of approval of their application, along with the Agreement and Vendor Data Record.

“I’m an owner/operator [sole proprietor]. I don’t have a payroll. Which document should I use instead?”

Sole proprietors are eligible for this funding. Instead of payroll records, you may upload tax documents that reflect the fact that you are a sole proprietor and show your Tax ID and DUNS numbers.

“I run an open air market that was allowed to open late in my normal season. I reduced rents to help my vendors. Do my lost rents qualify?” 

Lost rents are not reimbursable expenses. However, we suggest that you apply and demonstrate your need (explaining the circumstances of the loss of revenue) and then request reimbursement for payroll, rent/lease, or equipment/supply expenses during that period of time.

“I assume a PPP loan is considered financial assistance, correct? What is the likelihood that a business that has received a PPP loan will be provided a grant? With no time to waste, I don’t want to apply if it is unlikely we will be chosen.”

Yes, PPP loans are considered COVID-19-related financial assistance. The key factor is need, so if you are able to demonstrate economic hardship and need for additional financial assistance, we encourage you to apply.

“I applied for the other [Rapid Response] small business grant program offered by the Monterey County Workforce Development Board. Am I eligible to apply for this grant program, as well? And do I have to submit a new application?”

This is a new small business grant program, different from our other Small Business Rapid Response grant program. You may be eligible for this Monterey County CARES Small Business Relief Program (if you meet all eligibility criteria for this specific grant program), but you must apply for this one separately.

“Is there a requirement about living or working only in Monterey County?”

Businesses must be operated and headquartered in Monterey County (the official business address used on the business license and/or tax documents but be a Monterey County address) to be eligible.

“I will only request $10,000 but two payroll documents I will upload total of $12,125.63. Do I need to submit receipts that equal exactly $10,000 or will two payrolls suffice, knowing we will be reimbursed for only $10,000 of that $12,000?”

The most important thing is to not request more than $10,000, neither in the application nor in the invoice (if you enter more than $10,000 in the online application it will not be considered). But it is okay if the supporting documents you upload/attach (payroll records, receipts, etc.) total more than $10,000; just make a note on the documents clarifying the actual amount being requested for reimbursement.

What is a Vendor Data Record?

A Vendor Data Record (VDR) is a form that is required by the County in order to disburse public funds. The VDR is required regardless of the type of business or whether you have a business license. If your application is approved, you will be sent the VDR form for you to complete, along with an Agreement to sign (via email). An awardee must have submitted a signed Agreement, VDR, Invoice, and receipts/proof of payment in order to received funds.

I already have receipts to submit. Can I submit an invoice for the total receipts at the same time with my application?

Yes, you may submit the invoice and receipts with the application. It is not guaranteed that you will receive funding, but if your application is approved and you are granted funding, it will expedite the process of payment if you have already submitted them with the application.

Part of social distancing for retail necessitates website development/expansion. Are these expenses eligible?

Those expenses may be eligible, if the business can adequately describe the situation and demonstrate the need in the application. The funding request also needs to be reasonable (amount is commensurate with the need and the type of expense).

Do I qualify if I have exhausted PPP funds yet still have expenses?

Businesses that have previously received Payment Protection Plan loans or other types of COVID-19-related financial assistance may apply for this grant funding if they still have unfunded expenses from the period of impact. Applicants must certify that expenses submitted for reimbursement have not been paid using other types of financial assistance.

Monterey County CARES Webinar PDFs Presentations in English and Spanish

Questions? Contact Us!

Employers: (844) 932-4249

Job Seekers: (866) 666-9332

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