Tyler Levene helps Brenda Hammond train at Red Dot Fitness Gym, in San Jose, Calif., on June 15, 2021. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News)

Santa Clara County and the Silicon Valley and Hispanic Small Business Development Centers have launched a grant program to reimburse small businesses that have implemented COVID-19 safety measures.

The Small Business Grant Program for COVID-19 Protective Measures will issue grants of up to $5,000 to businesses seeking to offset the costs of providing paid time off for employees to get vaccinated or tested, constructing outdoor dining and service areas, upgrading air filtration systems and more.

The county is funding the grant program, which will make more than $500,000 in total grants available in its first phase, by using fees levied against businesses that have violated local public health orders since the pandemic began.

“There’s no better way to use the money collected from the businesses that violated the public health orders than to reinvest that money in the small businesses most impacted by the pandemic that did their part to protect their workers, customers and communities,” county Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said in a statement.

Small businesses are eligible for a grant if they have not been fined for violating a public health order and if they properly submitted social distancing protocols, confirm their employees’ vaccination status and comply with public health orders until the pandemic is officially over.

“We’ve heard from many businesses that are proud to be doing their part to protect their workers and customers from COVID-19 while also staying in business and serving their communities,” Silicon Valley SBDC Executive Director Dennis King said. “The grant program shows that the county recognizes what these businesses have gone through and understands the value of investing in the small business community.”

Small business owners can submit applications for the first round of grants by Sept. 7. Grants are expected to be disbursed starting at the end of September.

Grant application information can be found in multiple languages at https://www.svsbdc.org/sc-covid-grant or by calling (408) 256-2217.