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County flags to fly at half-staff in honor of COVID-19 victims, grants and loans announced for small businesses

April 17, 2020
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The Cuyahoga County Board of Health holds press conference updating citizens on the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday and Friday mornings.  

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish opened the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) briefing on Friday, April 17, starting by ordering that flags on county building will fly at half staff in honor of those who have died from COVID-19 and he encouraged others to do the same.  

We'll continue that as long as this crisis …it's important that we all keep in mind the good people we've lost,” said Budish.  

He then went on to announce that the county’s Small Business Stabilization Fund is open for applications.

 Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, we must do all that we can to help them survive.

[Small businesses are] the lifeblood of our economy we must do all that we can to help them survive. These next days and weeks are crucial to their surviving this crisis. We want to make sure that when business are allowed to reopen that they can reopen and that they can bring back the employees that they have had to layoff. Those employees are suffering greatly so we're taking action first,” said Budish.  

He highlighted the county’s small business resource center, which can be reached online or by phone at 216-452-9714. Budish said that the call center has received calls from about 400 small businesses over the past few weeks. He said the resource center can let businesses know what federal loans and grants they may be eligible for. Since there are often long wait times, and at least one program, the Paycheck Protection Program, has already run out of money, Budish announced the Small Business Stabilization Fund that will offer grants to Cuyahoga County businesses with up to 20 employees and loans for businesses with up to 500 employees. The grants will be worth up to $5,000 and the loans will be worth up to $50,000.

 The grants will be worth up to $5,000 and the loans will be worth up to $50,000.

Budish then thanked several partners for contributions including the Economic Community Development Institute will coordinate the fund, Jumpstart in partnership with the KeyBank Foundation, Village Capital, the Great Cleveland Partnership Business Growth Collaborative and the Urban League.  

He also thanked other partners who helped establish the Cuyahoga County Small Business Resource Center, including Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and COSE, Growth Opportunity Partners, HFLA of Northeast Ohio, the Hispanic Business Center, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), Ohio Means Jobs, the county’s SkillUp team and the president’s council.  

Businesses can begin applying for grants or loans immediately at CuyahogaCounty.us/helpforbusiness. Budish said that the goal is to get money in the hands of small businesses by the week of April 27.

 When this crisis ends, and it will end, we'll come out of this with new tools and new resources which will make us stronger than ever.

While the money we raised is great it's nowhere near enough to support all the small businesses that need our help. We'll continue to try to enhance the program as we move forward. When this crisis ends, and it will end, we'll come out of this with new tools and new resources which will make us stronger than ever,” said Budish.  

Later in the briefing, responding to a question about Governor Mike DeWine’s plan to start reopening Ohio on May 1, Budish said that the county has had a group working to make sure that the county as a government will be ready to reopen when they’re advised to do so. He said that they’ve also seen changes in county government and within businesses, one of which was learning that some work can be done remotely. He stressed though that the community has, and will continue to change as a result of COVID-19.  

Just because business and the community starts to reopen doesn't mean we're not going to still have to follow the advice that we've been preaching for weeks and that is the hand-washing, the social distancing and making sure that you wear the masks and other protective equipment. We will be in a much better position going forward than we were at the beginning of this crisis because nobody anticipated it, and unfortunately the strategic stockpile was not sufficient to provide the protective equipment people needed throughout the county, so we will be ready both internally and for the community when we are advised by the medical experts that it can be done safely,” said Budish.

 The county has reduced the number of inmates in the jail to below 900 people.

He also stressed that the county has reduced the number of inmates in the jail to below 900 people and he said that has helped to greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

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