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Ripon ponders more pandemic business help

Ripon businesses may soon be getting a second round of COVID-19 bail-out money.

The Ripon City Council mentioned that during discussions of the impacts of moving back to the restrictive purple tier at last week’s special meeting.

Several months earlier, 72 of 108 such businesses received $3,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program relief funds made possible by the CARES Act.

According to Ripon Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Donohue, the PPP money came in handy for businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

"It got them through," she said, pointing out that some used the funds to pay one to two months of rent.

Donohue is now being directed to work with staff to come with a new list of businesses eligible for the PPP grant application. Those same businesses could possibly receive a waiver from business licensing fees.

While 108 businesses qualified during the first go-around, not all applied for the funds. "In hindsight, I think they wished they had (applied)," she said,

Elected leaders are now looking at receiving an updated list before moving forward with a vote.

Since the return to purple tier, City Administrator Kevin Werner mentioned some of the differences compared to that of last spring.

For starters, hair salons and barber shops can continue to operate indoors but with modifications as specified under COVID-19 safety measures.

Retailers can also operate indoors with some modifications.

Gyms and restaurants are allowed to operate exclusively outdoors while bars without any type of food services are now closed for now.

"I think we're going to be (in purple tier) for quite awhile," Councilman Leo Zuber said.

Another Council meeting is planned as a follow up.