Town of Essex Irons out Details of COVID-19 Recovery

AM800-News-Essex-Town-Hall

The Town of Essex has rolled out new initiatives to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A $500 grant and patio extensions for small businesses who qualify was approved at Monday night's special meeting.

Ward 4 Councillor Sherry Bondy says many small businesses have already purchased hand sanitizer, barriers and other PPE out of pocket.

"Are small businesses are core to our municipality, so how can we help them," she says. "We understand that $500 isn't a lot, but it can go a long way in these small businesses."

Administration agreed to approve the closure of select parking spaces to extend outdoor patios for food and retail on a case by case basis.

Bondy says the extra space could make or break a struggling business.

"We all know that our businesses are struggling and capacity is an issue inside, so we had a great discussion on how we can support our businesses in any way right  now," says Bondy.

The idea of closing streets to create market places was discussed, but council agreed to have a report done on the move.

Bondy says administration will reach out to the business community to find out if it can work.

"There's just some logistic challenges that we need to work out. We need to see if the businesses in Essex Centre and Harrow want that, and if they do, how can we support that and have those events while practicing social distancing," she added.

The town also agreed to continue to waive tax fees and interest through September at a cost of $30,000 per month.

Mayor Larry Snively brought a motion forward a request for government funding to help offset those costs that was approved by council.

A decision on whether to re-open beaches and splash pads will made at the next meeting on July 6.

Businesses who wish to apply for the $500 grant or extend their frontage can do so through the town's website.