Chillicothe, Ross County team with Chamber for COVID-19 relief fund

Look around the small businesses in Chillicothe and Ross County, and you’ll see the impact of COVID-19.

Laid-off workers, slow lunch crowds, drastically reduced foot traffic, and a general slowdown of business are the hallmarks of the shutdown and its aftereffects. Some businesses, who have depended on outdoors to help them deal with capacity limits and employee testing staging, face the prospect of added costs as we approach colder months. All of those loom large on the horizon.

The Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce, the City of Chillicothe and Ross County are pleased to announce a local COVID-19 relief fund for small businesses and eligible non-profit organizations in Ross County.

The city and county will each designate a portion of their federal CARES Act money to help small business recoup their costs. The funds can also assist businesses seeking modifications to help increase customer capacity, serve new customers, or other forward-looking ideas to grow business in the future.

The Chamber will facilitate the grants, including setting up and administering the application process through a committee that will review requests for potential payments. The process which is managed through an online application, is open now. Chamber membership is not a prerequisite.

Grants will be made available to small businesses and eligible non-profit organizations in Ross County. Small businesses are defined as those with one to fifty employees, and 501c3 organizations are also eligible. Financial awards will vary based on costs already incurred and the economic impact of the business’s COVID-19 crisis.

Monies must be spent by Dec. 31, 2020.

How can money be used? There are two ways to spend this grant – recouping costs related to reopening and sustaining business after the shutdown or preparing your business to meet requirements and increase sales in the coming months. For example, if you’ve shelled out quite a bit to buy masks, sanitizing products, or to put up barriers to keep your staff and customers safe, you can apply for money to help recoup those costs. The same applies for late payments on rent or utilities.

On the other hand, if you are looking ahead and thinking you might need a new point of sale system to help boost online or takeout sales or buy heaters to create outdoor dining space or other modifications to make your business better able to compete in the coming months, you can also apply for funds to help supplement the project.

Either way, it’s a good time to pull together your application and help your business.

A few articles to help spur the creative process on how to prepare for a COVID-19 fall and winter:

How restaurants are preparing for a COVID winter (MSN)

North Carolina businesses adjusting to COVID (Daily Tar Heel)

How one Michigan business is thinking ahead for winter during COVID (MLive, with podcast interview)

Here’s what small business owners should prepare for in the coming months (MSN)

Outdoor dining has been the saving grace for many restaurants during COVID-19 – what will happen this winter (Well+Good)

Winter is coming. Restaurants are getting ready (inc)

More articles at this link.