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County Offers Assistance for Small Businesses with New Toolkit

Mecklenburg County’s Business Leaders Roundtable announced the launch of an industry-specific toolkit on Wednesday that offers assistance for small-business owners looking to safely reopen their business during Phase 2 of Gov. Cooper’s plan to reopen the state.

Following up on the county’s first toolkit for local small-business owners, released earlier this month in the lead-up to Phase 1, the second tool kit, or “Small Business Sector-Specific Resource Guide,” offers more particular assistance for businesses newly allowed to reopen, including hair salons, construction companies, fitness facilities and tattoo parlors. 

“We have had tremendous response to the first toolkit,” County Manager Dena Diorio stated in a release on Wednesday. “This one goes even further, providing specific tips and guidance for different businesses and their specific needs.” 

The toolkit includes printable signs, general safety guidelines, information on cleaning and disinfection, and tips on ways to reduce mitigation and transmission, while also granting access to Charlotte Region Axonify, a new online training platform that’s pre-loaded with learning modules geared toward employees re-entering the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trainings are designed to apply across a variety of industries and feature instructional videos on the proper way to wash your hands and the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. There are also courses on teleworking and tips for maintaining a work-life balance, as well as a link for small-business owners to find personal protective equipment specific to the needs of their business through Carolinas Match.

Diorio convened the Business Leaders Roundtable for the first time on May 4. The group consists of more than 40 leaders from the local business community who aim to help develop ideas on how to effectively and safely reopen county businesses as the statewide stay-at-home order evolves. 

New COVID-19 stats show increases

Cooper implemented Phase 2 of his administration’s reopening plan on Friday, May 22, two weeks after Phase 1 took effect. New COVID-19 stats released by the county yesterday show how that has had an effect on curbing the spread of the virus locally.

As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, there were 3,366 cases of coronavirus and 78 deaths resulting from the virus in Mecklenburg residents. While the constant increase in COVID-19 cases can always be tied back to an increase in testing, two stats that relate more to the actual spread of the virus rather than testing capacity also showed increases.

According to data released on Tuesday, during the past week, an average of 70 individuals with COVID-19 infections were hospitalized at acute-care facilities in Mecklenburg County on any given day. This represents an increase over the previous 14 days. During that same span, an average of 7.4% of individuals who were tested (above) were positive for COVID-19. This represents a slight increase over the last 14 days. 

According to the county, which uses publicly available mobility tracking data, there was a decrease in social distancing in Mecklenburg County over the last 14 days, although social distancing remains significantly higher than before the first stay-at-home order became effective on March 26. 

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