Local businesses see hope with third aid relief package projected to be signed into law

Posted at 4:20 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 09:09:12-05

GLOUCESTER, Va. -- Another round of financial relief could be on the way, and for local businesses, it is stirring up optimism thanks to the last two aid packages.

"There wasn’t a single business that didn’t modify in some way their business model,” Jenny Crittenden, the Executive Director for Gloucester’s Main Street Preservation Fund, said.

The Main Street Preservation Fund works with small businesses along the town's Main Street. Crittenden said the last two relief packages helped small businesses in Gloucester and said she looks forward to the third.

The organization and local businesses came up with new ways to stay afloat, one of which was the “Downtown Dollars” vouchers to businesses that provided a discount to customers.

“Those PPP loans and those EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loans] ones took a bit to get here,” she said. “This provided a great gap tool to use to kind of keep running and stay afloat."

The new plan is called the American Rescue Plan, and it is expected to provide $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and $25 billion for bars and restaurants.

Related: Bill aims to provide more relief for craft breweries

“Small business owners tend to really take care of their own,” Crittenden said. “It gave them an opportunity to do that."

“If there’s one thing that’s clear,” Bob McNab, economics professor at Old Dominion University, said, “is that economic health and public health are intertwined."

McNab also pointed to the money going into peoples' bank accounts. The plan calls for payments of $1,400 for single tax filers or $2,800 for couples if they made under $75,000 in 2019.

He says the hundreds of dollars should help with spending at those businesses. Something else he says that should help are the vaccines.

“If small businesses want traffic in the door,” McNab explained, “we need people to get vaccinated so that the population at large has acquired immunity and is as safe as possible from the virus."

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