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70 Forsyth County businesses apply for COVID-19 relief funds on first day of new grant program
Marie's Italian Deli owner Karen Smith walks food out to a customer on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. - photo by Ben Hendren

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Seventy businesses in Forsyth County applied for COVID-19 relief funds on Wednesday, Aug. 5, the first day of a new program to help local companies impacted by the pandemic.

The businesses applied for a Forsyth County CARES Small Business Relief Grant, which is being administered by the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Forsyth County and the city of Cumming. 

During a recent work session, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved the program, which takes federal funds given to local governments in response to the pandemic and distributes it in grants to local businesses that have been walloped by shelter-in-place orders, voluntary closures to promote social distancing or decreased customer demand.

Wednesday kicked off the application process for the first round of grants, which range from $2,000 to $10,000 based on a business’s number of employees. A total of $1 million will be awarded in the first round. 

The deadline to apply through the program’s online portal, at, is 5 p.m. on Aug. 19. The county has additional federal funds available for a second round of grants.

Businesses have to be located in Forsyth County and been operating for at least a year prior to March 1, 2020. They also have to prove that COVID-19 hurt their sales or revenue. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are eligible, too.

“Every business in our community has felt the economic impact of the response to COVID-19 in one way or another,” Chamber President and CEO James McCoy said in a statement. “The Forsyth County CARES Small Business Relief Grant is a remarkable opportunity for locally-owned businesses to get support during this challenging time.”