Small business relief program revised


SCIOTO — Seeing a high need for financial assistance, a committee comprised of Scioto County Auditor David Green, Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton, and the Commissioners revised its small business grant program.

The relief program, made possible by the CARES Act, originally set aside 25 $10,000 and 10 $25,000 grants based on the number of employees. Those with less than 25 workers could receive up to $10,000, while those with up to 40 employees were eligible for up to $25,000.

The committee took note of how more companies were in need of the $25,000 and had soon used up the 10 grants. With this revision, all small businesses can apply for the $25,000 grant.

An additional change will be made to the resolution for those companies that did not qualify for the $10,000, but were still eligible for some assistance.

“This fixes all of that, it makes it much more flexible for that committee to really get the funds out to who they need to go,” said Commissioner Bryan Davis during their Tuesday morning meeting.

In the back of his mind are potential shutdowns of bars and restaurants due to rising coronavirus numbers in the state and region. Gov. Mike DeWine addressed that very issue during a Monday visit in Huntington, his position on another round of closures promising to Davis.

“We don’t want to shut the state down that has ramifications for mental health, drug addiction and overdoses,” said DeWine at the Monday press conference at the Huntington Jet Center. “All those things go up when there’s a shutdown.”

“There has to be a balance here,” added Davis, emphasizing a need for businesses to keep their doors open while doing so safely in regards to the pandemic.

Echoing DeWine’s concerns of another shutdown, Davis said the mental health aspect could not be overstated in Scioto County where suicides and overdoses are taking place due to economic strifes. That same economic struggle is also the reason behind the county’s relief program.

“We have many companies that are barely hanging on,” he said, the county’s unemployment rate at 8.2% as of September, which is below the state average of 8.4%. “Their businesses have been impacted greatly and they are hurting badly.”

In lieu of a complete shutdown, DeWine announced a three-week curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for retail businesses on Tuesday afternoon. The governor said along with increased mask-wearing, the curfew could reduce person-to-person contacts by 20% to 25%.

DeWine tweeted later that the curfew does not apply to those who need to be at work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care. The curfew is not intended to stop anyone from getting groceries, a carry-out/drive-thru meal, or delivery. The measure is effective on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.