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.