Greenville City Council passed an emergency ordinance Monday night requiring customers to wear masks while inside grocery stores and pharmacies. The ordinance which takes effect Tuesday, June 23 at noon, also requires that employees wear masks in the following businesses: restaurants, retail shops, barber shops and salons within City limits.
In passing the emergency ordinance, the Mayor and Council cited the doubling of COVID-19 cases in since Memorial Day in Greenville County, which leads the state with more than 3600 cases. “Face covering is proven to reduce the spread of this deadly virus,” said Mayor Knox White. “If we want to keep our citizens healthy, our businesses open and return to the normalcy we crave, we must take strong action to require masks inside essential shopping locations.”
On Tuesday, City staff will distribute approximately 50,000 masks to local businesses. Masks will be delivered to grocery stores and pharmacies. Other businesses with a City of Greenville business license can pick up masks from 8 a.m. to noon at the Greenville Convention Center. Businesses will be limited to 100 masks each while supplies last. Mask pick-up will be drive-thru style at the Exposition Drive circle.
Also Monday, Council approved the use of $250,000 in Unity Park funds to provide micro-grants to small, locally owned and independent businesses facing financial challenges stemming from the pandemic. Private donors to the City’s Unity Park Project can designate up to 10 percent of their contributions to the Small Business Boost Fund.
The one-time boost grants of $1,000 are limited to businesses with 2-49 employees, no more than $1 million in gross annual sales and a physical storefront in the city of Greenville. To be eligible, a business must have a 2020 City of Greenville business license, have no open tax liens or court judgments and cannot have filed for bankruptcy.
Businesses must apply for funding and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply at www.greenvillesc.gov/BusinessBoost. The application portal will be available for submissions at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 23. Businesses must upload a completed IRS Form W-9 with their application and provide a brief description of the need for the funding and how the funds will be used.
All grant and mask recipients will be required to sign the Greater Greenville Pledge. The pledge is a commitment by businesses to clean frequently, limit capacity, encourage social distance, monitor employee health and encourage facial covering. Business can take the pledge at: GreaterGreenvillePledge.com or LaPromesadeGreenville.com.
“Not only we are asking businesses to do more for the sake of public health, but we are giving them the tools to do it,” Mayor White said. “The Boost Grants and free masks are a way to help our small businesses without have corporate support, reopen responsibly without additional financial burden involved in the purchase of personal protective equipment and additional cleaning supplies.”