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Ripon OKs $3,000 COVID grants to assist businesses
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The Ripon City Council approved the Small Business Assistance Grant Program Phase 2 on Tuesday.

For many local businesses, this could mean financial relief for the recent COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

Businesses that are fully closed such as bars, gyms and places for massage therapy could now be eligible for $3,000 under this second go-around of the Paycheck Protection Program relief fund from the CARES Act.

These same grant funds can be used to offset costs of rent, payroll and utilities.

"This means a lot to our local businesses," said Ripon Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Donohue. "They're already reaching out to us and asking about the program."

She assisted many of the same businesses with applications for the initial grant funds.

Council also approved to help the Chamber by chipping in $150 per application as a processing fee, using the same funding source. Councilman Leo Zuber, who serves on the Chamber board of directors, abstained from this add-on to the same item.

During Phase 1 of the grant program, the City distributed $216,000 of the $300,000 allocated to 72 businesses, according to Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart.

He added: "Since then, the City has received $200,000 of CARES Act funding, which small business grants are an eligible expense."