Oklahoma County’s $15 million COVID-19 relief program for small businesses and nonprofits had to stop taking applications just days after opening because of high demand.
About 800 small businesses and nonprofits located inside the county but outside of Oklahoma City applied within three days, requesting $65 million, said Debbie Anglin, spokeswoman for the program.
The county’s program was originally supposed to take applications until Dec. 7, but Anglin said it “became obvious that grant requests had far exceeded available funding.”
“We are working extended hours in order to review and process the applications,” said Cathy O’Connor, general manager of the Oklahoma Industries Authority, which is managing the program.
“Our goal is to get these grants into the hands of businesses and nonprofits as quickly as possible to help with critical expenses, preserve jobs and stabilize our small-business economy.”
By early this week, 185 businesses had been approved to receive over $5 million in assistance funding. The average award is $65,000, and the other applications are continuing to be reviewed.
Funding for the program came from the county’s roughly $47 million share of federal coronavirus relief dollars, known as CARES Act funding.
Oklahoma City received its own share of CARES dollars earlier this year, but only businesses or nonprofits inside of the city could receive that money. Those located in cities like Bethany, Choctaw, Edmond or Jones could previously only receive funds from state or federal programs.