The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be an unprecedented event that has united us in the common goal of helping our community stay safe. On March 12th, 2020, Miami-Dade County and the City of Doral implemented a State of Emergency order to contain the spread of the COVID-19, immediately shutting down all major events, implementing social distancing regulations, closing non-essential businesses, and limiting many business uses in the city. The economic impact was immediate, with restaurants, hotels, and retail establishments discontinuing or severely reducing their operations within the city.
Subsequently, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was signed into law, appropriating $150 billion of direct federal funding for state and local governments to address unforeseen financial needs and risks created by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The federal CARES Act appropriated nearly half a billion dollars to Miami-Dade County.
City of Doral leadership made it their priority to launch a grant program that would assist Doral businesses and residents during their recovery during this critical time. In September 2020, Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez and City Council approved a Subaward and Grant Agreement with Miami-Dade County for the reimbursement of emergency expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 which included a business assistance program up to $1.5 million and a residential rental relief program of up to $500,000. Later in November 2020, the County approved a total of $1.2 million in reimbursable funds for the City of Doral, to be expended by December 30, 2020.
Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez and City Council granted early approval so that the City of Doral could be one of the first municipalities to open applications on October 1st, 2020. With the support and assistance of City partners at the Beacon Council, the City of Doral developed the Doral CARES program consisting of two separate grant programs: the Doral Small Business Assistance Grant and the Doral Emergency Rental Assistance Grant. A 3-member Evaluation Committee was established for each grant program to review and evaluate each eligible application and recommend an award based on an established set of criteria advertised on the City’s multiple communication platforms.
The Doral CARES Business Assistance program was for small businesses between 3 and 25 employees to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding. The Doral CARES Emergency Rental Assistance program was established to provide up to $2,500 of rent relief for those who could provide proof from their landlords that they were past due or offer evidence of significant COVID-related economic hardship.
The city received a total of 663 applications, which were thoroughly reviewed, vetted, and qualified for eligibility. More than 7,310 documents were collected in the process. By December 30, 2020, the City of Doral awarded more than $1.4 Million dollars in financial assistance to businesses and residents. The City of Doral is proud to have been able to assist so many of its residents and businesses and continues to collaborate with public and private entities to be able to aid this great community.