Local towns provide support for businesses during pandemic

Middleburg’s Washington Street is the town’s commerce hub.

Providing support to locally-owned businesses and restaurants during the pandemic over the past few months has been an ongoing goal for western Loudoun’s town governments.

Some businesses experienced as much as an 80 percent loss at the onset, and the Town of Middleburg was one of the first to respond by launching a voucher program in early April.

The town granted $253,750 in vouchers to local residents to assist restaurants for their continued operations during the pandemic. To assist businesses without food service, the town provided more than $52,000 in grants to retailers as part of a marketing agreement program.

“6,300 of the vouchers were redeemed. It was a hugely popular program and very well received,” said Town Administrator Danny Davis.

In addition, Davis said the town gave nearly $65,000 in relief to utility customers and donated $16,750 to nonprofits for COVID-19 support.

Sam Rogers, general manager of the Red Horse Tavern on Middleburg’s main street, said the voucher program “definitely helped” through the slower months when the restaurant was able to only serve carryout food. He was grateful for the support.

However, looking ahead, Rogers has concerns about what the future holds.

“I’m worried about going into the winter as things will obviously be moving inside, and if the south and western United States are any indication, that will not go well,” Rogers said.

Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton said the town is considering implementing side street partial closures to expand restaurant seating, as well as an aggressive marketing campaign this fall to encourage visitors to come to Middleburg.

Regarding another voucher program, Littleton said Town Council would consider it if the commonwealth moves back to Phase 1 or Phase 2.

In Lovettsville, Mayor Nate Fontaine said the town is in the process of reviewing applications for the business interruption fund (BIF) and will start disbursing the funds in coordination with the Loudoun County Economic Development Authority.

Fontaine said $93,500 of the $187,372 in CARES Act funding will be distributed to Lovettsville businesses in two rounds.

Further, $45,000 has been allocated for eligible utility account holders impacted by the pandemic, and the town is in the process of determining how it will be implemented.

Lovettsville is also allocating $30,000 for eligible nonprofit and faith-based organizations as part of the CARES Act funding.

In Hillsboro, as part of the town’s ongoing Open for Business campaign, town leaders are launching a “Fruits of the Gap” voucher booklet that will be delivered to each household in mid-August.

The small town has budgeted $2,500 for the program, which will give residents a booklet valued at $50 with five $10 vouchers offered for farms and farm markets, wines and craft brews, in-town businesses and the MooThru seasonal ice cream truck. 16 businesses have signed up for the plan thus far, and the town will reimburse $10 for each voucher spent at the business.

“We hope this will encourage people to get out and spend a few dollars and support the businesses that have been really hit by the pandemic crisis,” said Hillsboro Mayor Roger Vance.

As of July 17, the Town of Purcellville has issued 6,176 vouchers as part of a $70,000 program to support local businesses. So far, 693 vouchers have been redeemed by 13 businesses, according to Director of Administration Hooper McCann.

The vouchers are valid through Dec. 31. Businesses are asked to sign up online, and information about participating businesses is listed on the town’s website, PurcellvilleVa.gov.

McCann said the town is working on utilizing the CARES Act funding, and it has allocated $474,000 for the business interruption funding grants and $89,000 for nonprofit grants. She said the application process for businesses will be launched soon.

(12) comments

loudouncommonsense

The method used to "hand-out" money has always been a factor in how the game board is tilted. Certain political factions always prefer "tax-breaks," my assumption being: A. they aren't so readily seen as "welfare;" B. they impact the income side of government initially so the expenditure side looks better and C. often the hope is that with lower revenue, government will be forced to cut expenditures, long a driving force of conservatism.

Of course, since poor people pay little to nothing in taxes due to such low incomes, the benefits of tax breaks accrue to the wealthier; Worse, the poor get a double hit because when it comes to cutting government programs conservatives push for food stamp and income assistance cuts. The "corporate welfare" of tax cuts is preserved because well, it's the people with economic power who call the shots. In the time of covid, we see not only a push for tax cuts, but also outright gifts of money to corporations. It's bonus time!

Lawman

Food stamps or welfare when it goes to minorities or poor people. Aid when it comes to whites or establishment types. Let’s see if the usual suspects will say anything about this welfare program.

Science Can Save Us

You're right, one person's welfare is another person's aid. Let's hope these local governments are not as lax and corrupt as our national government has been when it was printing and handing out money with no oversight at all.

trickydick

Speaking (without portfolio) for the "usual suspects," I question what the basis might be for Lovettsville's decision that some "faith based" organizations will get some of the government money, whether it be regarded as "welfare" or "aid"?

Squaks11

Lawman - I hope you are not this neagtive around your family as you are when you post. If you are get them into therapy ASAP.

VOLTON

My friend Voltaire can not be here today so let me do the honors. Squaks11, you assert that Lawman is negative but I find no negativity in his analysis. He is merely making the observation that some see giving money to business as one thing and giving money to the poor as another.

Squaks11

Volt - Is on today and has posted on other stories.

Voltaire

VOLTON--I am impressed with your observation. You are spot on right. Nice work.

Voltaire

Squaks11--Your observation is also spot on right.

Chris McHale

Let me start by saying I support food stamps and welfare. With that said I see this program more comparable to unemployment. It is financial assistance to people who paid into the system and now need help and are being paid back.

MAGA Hats Turning Up On EBay

Yes, I think that's right. As our economy is tanking, the people who have been part of it and are now hurting need some support. That sort of support--if done properly--helps the economy and helps everyone. Thus far, the support has been very uneven. Banks got a ton of money, working joe...not so much.

LetsBreal

We've been throwing helicopter money from the sky for ages and it's not working. That's because consumer DEMAND is down. You don't fix this by printing like crazy like the federal reserve is.

The national debt in 1980 was $908 billion. Today, it’s over $26 trillion. In June alone, the debt was $863 billion. That's more debt than the country added in its first 200 years of existence.

Your answer of more more more doesn't work. You don't buy your way out of this.

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