FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Martha J. Miller
Town of Ashland Launches New Business Grant Program &
Expands Outdoor Dining Opportunities Amid Global Pandemic
Safety Enhancement Grants and more flexible patio regulations designed to provide support to local businesses and promote economic activity
ASHLAND, VA (May 13, 2020) – To support local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Town of Ashland is pleased to announce the launch of a new business grant program and temporary changes to local regulations that will allow for expanded outdoor patio space at Town restaurants and retail establishments.
The Safety Enhancement Grant program, funded by the Town’s Economic Development Authority (EDA), will allocate $35,000 for grants of up to $2,000 to help businesses implement best practices for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for patrons and employees.
“While there are funding opportunities available at the state and federal levels, the EDA felt it was important to show support for our local business community at the town level,” said Tim Shelton, Chairman of the Town’s Economic Development Authority. “The EDA is committed to seeing our local businesses weather this storm and we are happy to partner with them to provide some needed assistance.”
Funds can be used to purchase items needed to reopen a business or return to a “normal” level of service, such as personal protective equipment for staff, easy to clean or disposable menus, or additional outdoor furniture for expanded patio seating. Any business located within the Town’s corporate limits is eligible to apply. Although a program of the EDA, administration of the grants will be managed by Town of Ashland staff.
In addition, the Town is rolling out a Parking to Patio initiative. To allow restaurants and retail establishments the ability to social distance in accordance with Governor Northam’s orders, the Town is temporarily permitting expanded patio seating to serve customers. The new measure will permit outdoor seating to encroach on up to 25% of required parking while social distance measures are in effect. Also, the Town will temporarily close portions of public parking and streets in the downtown area to allow adjacent businesses to expand their operations outdoors. Restaurants that want to participate must coordinate with the Town’s Community Development Department and seek approval from the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.
“In a time when businesses are being inundated with new regulations, we’re happy to loosen some of ours to enable them to operate as safely as possible,” said Steve Trivett, Ashland’s Mayor. “We’re thrilled to roll out two initiatives we hope will encourage people to eat, shop and spend in Ashland”
“This is about more than just simple economics, this is about community,” Shelton added. “For the Town to thrive, we need a healthy small business community that will survive tough times. This is about neighbors helping neighbors; about adapting and thinking proactively to ensure we all come out on the other side of this thing together.”
For more information on the Safety Enhancement Grants program and the parking to patios initiative contact Nora Amos or Joe Topham with the Town’s Community Development Department at: email@example.com, (804) 798-1073 or http://ashlandva.gov/117/Incentives-Grants.