Bucks County is planning an Economic Recovery Task Force as COVID-19 mitigation measures begin to ease.
Bob Harvie, a Bucks County Commissioner, said earlier in the week the task force will look at steps the county can take to help local businesses as things open up.
COVID-19 and mitigation measures have halted many businesses and are expected to have lasting impacts through the rest of the year. Tourism is a key sector in the county and has been hit hard.
“When all this started in mid-March, the county was given a statistic that the expectation was that 30 percent of small businesses would not reopen. Now, we’re hoping that number is off by a lot,” Harvie said.
The task force will look at “steps the county can take to help business reopen,” guidelines to help businesses, and determine how the county’s $109 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief money could be deployed to help small businesses.
Harvie said task force members will be business owners, representatives from local business groups, and others with backgrounds in labor and finance.
Before the county can figure out how to distribute CARES Act funds to help local businesses, the county still needs to total the cost it has spent on COVID-19, including personal protective equipment, others supplies, and overtime for staff, Harvie said.
Guidance from the U.S. Treasury provided to government agencies that received CARES Act funding states the money can go toward providing “economic support” for businesses and residents
Harvie said there’s talk of more potential funding for local governments, but nothing is set in stone. He said the county wants to best distribute its current funds.