NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — The Hanover County Board of Commissioners held its 2021 State of the County address Monday morning. The pandemic and recovery efforts dominated the conversation, and even impacted how and when the meeting was held.
“We typically share our state of the county in early February,” Chairperson, Julia Olson-Boseman said to a virtual crowd. “…But we postponed this year’s even because we were in the height of vaccination efforts.”
According to the county, nearly 50,000 people have been vaccinated within the county since the rollout began.
The virus infected more than 18,000 people across the Cape Fear. It shut down countless businesses, forcing many to rely on local, state, and federal aid to survive.
“We’ve utilized Cares funding that provided a much needed lifeline,” said Boseman, “1.3 million (dollars) in grants to a 130 locally owned businesses.”
Going forward, the American Rescue Plan will grant New Hanover County 45.4 million dollars, with more than three million going to local businesses.
“They’re going to create a grant program specifically aimed at those companies that have been most impacted by the pandemic shut downs,” said the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s President, Natalie English. “So retail, hospitality and restaurants, and child care businesses.”
Those businesses were all affected by curfews or completely shut down for a period of time during the pandemic.
English said when the federal funds arrive, local business owners will be able to apply to different grant programs depending on the number of people they employ.
There are businesses that haven’t brought in the same amount of revenue that they had in years past. And this will help them keep people paid so they keep their workforce. So we keep people in our community employed.”