Kern County is accepting applications for the small business forgivable loan program Kern Recovers, designed to provide relief to small businesses hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19, according to a news release from the Kern County Administrative Office.

The county is accepting applications from small business owners that have fewer than 50 employees, make less than $5 million in annual revenue, are physically located in Kern County, and have at least one full-time employee, two part-time employees or 50 percent of owners live in Kern County, according to the release.

Kern Recovers is supported by $157 million in CARES Act funding and the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Small businesses will be eligible for up to $75,000 in forgivable loans. Approved funding must be used for 34 percent of loan amount for payroll, up to 33 percent of loan amount for rent, utilities, and mortgage interest, and up to 33 percent of loan amount for general working capital, according to the release.

“We recognize that our local small businesses have been hit extremely hard by COVID-19 and our goal is to help alleviate some of that strain where possible,” said Jim Zervis, Kern County’s chief operations officer. “We’re proud to roll this program out today and our goal is to get funding to businesses as quickly as possible while maintaining an appropriate level of transparency and accountability.”

The county is working with local financial institutions to process applications including Mission Bank, Valley Republic Bank, Valley Strong Credit Union and AltaOne Federal Credit Union, the release said.

There are some additional requirements that can be found online through the application process at kerncounty.com/government/kern-recovers.

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