Since launching in August, the Sarasota County CARES Assistance program has disbursed $27.1 million into the local economy, supporting small businesses, individual households, arts and cultural programs, and nonprofit organizations.

As of Nov. 16, over $2.3 million in individual assistance has been paid to 757 households and over $23.1 million to 550 small businesses. The county’s assistance program is on track to distribute a total of $49 million to small businesses and $7.5 million to individuals.

“With the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, we’ve worked closely with the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller to push funding out quickly,” said County Administrator Jonathan Lewis. “The effort to help those most in need deal with the effects of COVID-19 and keep our community running has been amazing. Our employees, CARES ambassadors, and chambers of commerce have been working to help those who need it.”

Based on the applications already submitted, the county will succeed in distributing all of the CARES funds as approved by the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners. As a result of this success, the Small-Business and Individual Assistance programs will pause on Thursday, Nov. 19. During the pause, existing applicants will be able to view applications, but the program will not accept new applications.

County Commissioners modified the CARES Assistance program Wednesday, shifting dollars into the categories with the most need.

The board approved the following changes:

• Business Assistance program modified to $49 million.
• Individual Assistance program modified to $7.5 million.
• Human Services/Nonprofits subcategory of the Water, Food, and Shelter program modified to $4 million.
• Health and Medical (Nonprofits) program modified to $6 million.

For more information on the Sarasota County CARES Assistance program call the Sarasota County CARES Contact Center 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 941-861-CARE (2273) or visit: