Monroe County Commissioners have approved a new program to reimburse businesses and nonprofits for COVID-related expenses and increased the eligible reimbursements to $30,000. The previous cap was $20,000.
The previous reimbursement program, which covered non-payroll COVID-related expenses, was slated to end on Nov. 30 and was part of the federal CARES Act. At their Dec. 2 meeting, commissioners voted to create a similar program funded from $4.7 million that the county received from the CARES Act.
Click here for the reimbursement application form.
Chamber CEO Erin Predmore addressed the impact of COVID-19 on the local business community during a Nov. 27 Noon Edition on WFIU. The segment also featured Jeff Meese of One World Enterprises and Efrat Feferman of the Monroe County United Way.
Predmore talked about efforts to support local businesses, including the Chamber's online holiday gift guide, which spotlights more than 100 shops and other businesses.
Click here to listen.
The Monroe County Board of Health announced new updates to its regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, to take effect at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
In addition to the updates, the board announced that Monroe County will follow Gov. Eric Holcomb's Executive Order 20-48, but with added restrictions for each color-coded level. Those levels are based on the average of scores for these two metrics: 1) weekly number of cases per 100,000 residents, and 2) the 7-day positivity rate for all tests. As of the week of Nov. 16, Monroe County is in the Orange level.
Click here to read the new Monroe County Board of Health updates.
Staff from Bloomington's Economic & Sustainable Development Department updated City Council at their Nov. 4 meeting about the status of the Rapid Response Fund loan program.
To date, 62 loans have been granted totaling $1,760,770 using funds from both Food & Beverage Tax revenues and the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association (BUEA). The loans are intended to help local businesses that are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chamber CEO Erin Predmore serves on the city's Economic Stabilization & Recovery Working Group, which oversees the Rapid Response Fund. Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, serves on the BUEA board.
Click here to read the staff memo on the Rapid Response Fund update.
Click here to watch a recording of the Nov. 4 presentation to council.
During a weekly joint press conference on Friday afternoon, Mayor John Hamilton announced plans to close sections of Kirkwood to vehicular traffic 24/7 through the end of the year. Those sections are between Dunn and Grant, and from Washington to Walnut. The block between Indiana and Dunn will be closed weekends only. North/south cross streets will remain open.
Since this summer, sections of Kirkwood have been closed from Thursday through Sunday to allow restaurants to set up tables for customers in the street. It allows for additional seating with distancing requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some restaurant owners have been advocating to keep the closing throughout the week so that they can set up tents with heaters during inclement weather.
Erin Predmore, CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, was a guest on the Oct. 16, 2020 WFIU Noon Edition, focused on how COVD-related festival cancellations are impacting southern Indiana.
Other panelists were Judy Epp, Spencer Pride fundraising director; Diana Choate, Monroe County Fall Festival president; and Elaine Bedel, Indiana Destination and Development Corporation secretary and CEO.
Click here to listen to a recording of the discussion. Read the WFIU report: "Bloomington Chamber CEO Talks Effects of Local Event Cancellations."
Monroe County is now offering reimbursements for expenses related to COVID-19 for up to $20,000. The previous limit was $10,000.
The reimbursements are made possible with funds from the federal CARES Act. Examples of approved expenses include cleaning or disinfection supplies, personal protection equipment (like face masks), and costs associated with changing your business model (such as restaurants that started offering curbside or take-out).
Details and a reimbursement form are available here.
The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association and the Bloomington Arts Commission are seeking applications for a second round of funding to foster the arts and cultivate cultural experiences in Bloomington.
Nonprofit organizations and businesses in the arts and cultural sector can apply for funds starting Friday, September 4 at noon at the following link: https://bloomington.in.gov/arts/grants. Applications will be evaluated according to organizational capacity, community impact, equity and inclusion efforts, artistic quality, and programming needs. Completed applications are due Friday, October 2, at 5 p.m., with awards to be announced and distribution anticipated by late October.
As part of the city's Recover Forward initiative, in May 2020 the BUEA and the BAC awarded $80,800 in grant funding to 26 nonprofit organizations whose programming was interrupted or otherwise impacted by the pandemic.
NOTE: Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, serves on the BUEA board.
Effective Friday, Aug. 21 at noon, private gatherings in the City of Bloomington are limited to 15 people. Mayor John Hamilton issued the executive order imposing the change, as part of an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 as Indiana University students return to town.
A Monroe County Public Health order, which took effect July 22, has limited private gatherings to 50 people. That remains in effect.
The mayoral order applies only within the City of Bloomington, including the IU campus. It remains in effect indefinitely.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy