COVID-19 relief needed in rural areas

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PARKERSBURG, WV (WOWK) – The pandemic that started last year has affected cities all over the U.S. This includes rural areas that rely on in-person businesses to keep the local economy going.

In Wood County, West Virginia the pandemic hit the area hard, forcing many businesses to close their doors for good. Others that have been able to stay open are now looking for government funding.

It’s not a secret that many businesses had to go through struggles in 2020, especially after experiencing multiple statewide shutdowns.

Some were able to receive government funding through the 2020 CARES Act, while others didn’t qualify. While more than $22 billion went to counties across the U.S. to help these businesses, some were forced to find other means of funding.

You see a lot of small businesses that closed even though they got the PPP loan or a small loan, it wasn’t enough to get them going.

David Blair Couch, Wood County Commission President

Wood County Commission President David Blair Couch says local museums and historical locations like the Blennerhassett Hotel previously relied on funding from the county through hotel and motel taxes, which was almost non-existent this past year.

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which will go to the Senate for approval.

Couch says he believes this decision is a step in the right direction stating “the direct aid to people means that they will spend (more money) in the local economy.”

For the list of COVID-19 fiscal recovery funds by county, click here.

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