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Ashland offering grants to help businesses reopen: ‘We're all in this together’

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Posted at 4:35 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 18:14:41-04

ASHLAND, Va. -- Gearing up to open up. Localities across Central Virginia are making plans to get businesses going again.

Ashland Town Manager Joshua Farrar says they’ve started a Safety Enhancement Grant program to help.

“We want them to be safe, but we also want our businesses to stay with us. We want them to be able to survive through June, July and August. The underlying message is we are all in this together,” Farrar said. Qualified Ashland businesses can receive up to $2,000 for expenses related to the Governor’s reopening regulations.

“They can come in to us and say this a new regulation. It’s going to cost us $1,000 to print paper menus so we can continue operating. We will turn that around in 48 hours,” Farrar added.

Ashland’s economic development authority initially allocated $35,000 for the grant program. Businesses must be current on taxes and be located within the corporate limits of the town.

“Are you trying to do something that meets one of the regulations that have come out? So, it can be as simple as we want to purchase extra PPE for our employees. As long as we can tie it back to the governor’s regulations we are happy to approve it,” Farrar said.

The town of Ashland also started a Parking lot to Patio initiative. That means, temporarily relaxing some parking regulations to allow businesses to create new outdoor patio space.

Restaurants still have to adhere to VA ABC and Virginia Department of Health regulations.

“We are going to look toward Center Street for part of that. Maybe closing off a part of that street as early as Friday. It’s important to remind businesses they need to get their VDH AND VA ABC licenses in place in order for them to take advantage of the town’s leniency on regulations,” Farrar explained.

Ashland business owners can now fill out the two page application here.

Applications will be reviewed and grants distributed in 48 hours.

When the grant funds are depleted, Farrar says there is a possibility that their EDA could allocate more funds for the Safety Enhancement Grant program.

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