San Bernardino County announces small business program to help through COVID-19 reopening

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Officials in San Bernardino County announced a new program on Friday created to help provide funding to small businesses as they reopen with COVID-19 mandated protocols.

Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, said the COVID Compliant Business Partnership Program will help small businesses ensure ongoing compliance with COVID-19 safety measures. Through the program approved businesses, with less than 100 employees, can be reimbursed up to $2,500 after receiving a compliance certification.

“We know compliance with the new health and safety guidelines may involve additional costs, and this partnership is designed to help with some of those costs,” Hagman said. “This will allow for their customers and residents to know that they’re taking the steps needed to keep us safe when we go into that store or service.”

Businesses can apply at sbcovid19.com through Aug. 31. Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition to essential services that have remained open through COVID-19, some additional businesses in the county have also been allowed to reopen. Retails stores are now reopen for curbside service only, as well as healthcare and dental services, childcare services, offices, outdoor museums, drive-up religious services, car washes, dog walking, pet grooming, plumbing services and others.

“The stores are starting to open little by little. Not as fast as we’d like to in the county, but we’re also wanting to make sure we are doing it safely,” Hagman said.

The county reported 18 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the highest daily increase in fatalities, according to the San Bernardino Public Health Department. Countywide, there have been 3,311 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 150 deaths as of Friday.

More than 33,280 people have been tested for the virus.

Last week officials announced wearing a face covering in public was no longer required, but still highly recommended in San Bernardino County. Gatherings and short-term rentals are still prohibited and social distancing at essential businesses is still required under California’s “stay-at-home” order.

Hagman said businesses can still require employees and customers to wear face masks in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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