When the pandemic struck this year, Shane Bradley’s Computer Wizperer business took a big hit.

“I lost my one employee” – his wife, who has had to stay home with their three small children, he said.

There were other impacts on the small business as clients felt uncomfortable having strangers make service calls to their homes and with new work protocols involving sanitizing equipment.

But a new Bowling Green program using federal coronavirus relief funds, BG CARES, has lent a hand to Bradley’s computer repair business.

Bradley’s business was the first recipient of funding from the program, which the Bowling Green City Commission approved Oct. 20.

Since his small business didn’t qualify for federal relief programs, “it’s nice that this was available,” Bradley said of BG CARES.

“This lets us continue to purchase PPE, sanitizer, masks ... it allows us to do what we need to do to stay safe,” he said.

The BG CARES program is funded with $1.885 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery Act funds given to the city, and it’s for businesses with 50 employees or fewer, said Brent Childers, director of the city’s Neighborhood and Community Services department.

Other guidelines include having had gross revenue of $2 million or less as of 2019 and being Bowling Green- based.

“We’re trying to target that smaller business,” Childers said.

The business review site Yelp reported in its September Economic Impact Report that almost 100,000 mostly small, local businesses have closed their doors because of the pandemic.

Under the BG CARES program, employers with up to 25 employees are eligible for $2,500 grants and those with 26 to 50 employees can get $5,000.

The money can be used for rent, utilities, mortgage payments or PPE purchases, Childers said.

The online application “is very straight-forward,” Childers said, and applications are reviewed as they come in.

A few grants, including the one to Computer Wizperer, have already been awarded.

In its first week, more than 100 local businesses have applied for the grants.

“A lot of small, mom and pop businesses have applied,” Childers said Wednesday.

And while those smaller businesses that have not received other funding such as Payroll Protection Program grants are the focus of BG CARES, Childers said the program requirements may be tweaked in the future.

“We are going to continue looking at the guidelines,” he said.

– The application for BG CARES can be found at https://www.bgky.org/bg-cares.

– Follow Managing Editor Wes Swietek on Twitter @WesSwietek or visit bgdailynews.com.

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