Nassau is planning to use $10 million in federal stimulus to help 1,000 businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic, County Executive Laura Curran said Thursday.
And in Hempstead, officials announced their own effort Thursday to jump-start businesses, vowing to extend outdoor dining through the next year.
Curran awarded a $10,000 stimulus check to Tassel Children’s Shoes in Cedarhurst. The shoe store is Nassau's first recipient of a federal Main Street Recovery Grant, a part of the American Rescue Plan that prioritizes minority- and women-owned businesses as well as underserved communities.
"The COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed down businesses temporarily, but our local chambers and organizations have been busier than ever," Curran said Thursday at a news conference in Cedarhurst. "Throughout the pandemic, the county has been working with businesses to adapt and pivot and stay afloat."
Separately, Curran announced a new $1.5 million program Thursday using American Rescue Plan funds for a small business technical assistance and planning program.
The new program includes training and helping businesses apply for online marketing, and expanding e-commerce to reach customers, said Curran at the news conference, where she was joined by local groups, including officials from Hofstra University, the Long Island Association and Vision Long Island.
The county’s Boost Nassau program teams with local chambers of commerce to help businesses apply for funding and assistance online or at the county’s in-person resource center at Eisenhower Park.
"There is money available for businesses to do whatever they need — cover payroll, rent or make facade improvements," Curran said.
The county has approved grants for more than 100 other businesses, which will be notified later this week, she said.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer endorsed Nassau's plan.
"I fought tooth-and-nail in Washington to deliver aid to Nassau County, and I’m glad that County Executive Laura Curran is putting those funds to work boosting small businesses and nonprofits by providing them with grants to help them come back stronger than before," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin also announced Thursday that the town would expand its outdoor dining program through October 2022 after success seen during the past year.
The town is offering free permits for restaurants to add or expand outdoor dining through a streamlined online application process and inspection by the town’s building department.
Both Curran and Clavin cited the rise of cases with the delta variant raising the need to help small businesses.
"During this pandemic, restaurant owners reimagined businesses and service while everyone else was at home," Clavin said. "We have had hundreds of restaurants apply online. People are still not comfortable dining inside and this pandemic is not over."
Clavin stood at Borelli’s Restaurant in East Meadow, which opened in 1955 and has converted part of its parking lot into patio seating.
"Without our patio, it would be tough to survive," owner Frank Borelli said. "We’ve been here 66 years and we hope to make it another 100."