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After hearing from several home care providers in Buena Vista, the town Board of Trustees on Tuesday modified its Local Business Grant Program to include home-based businesses – with the exception of short-term rentals.

The town’s program is using $130,000 in CARES Act Relief funding to supply grants ranging from $3,500 to $7,500 to local businesses impacted by the coronavirus known as COVID-19. The initial target was brick-and-mortar businesses within town limits, especially those that saw a significant drop during the spring shutdown and are facing the off-season with less-than-normal financial cushion. About $48,000 has been allocated so far.

Several providers weighed in on Tuesday evening’s town board Zoom meeting, explaining the difficulties they have encountered during the pandemic. Whereas many childcare providers typically have waitlists for infant and toddler care, they said several parents have pulled their children out because of concerns over COVID-19 or because they’ve been laid off from work.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the change.

“Daycare makes perfect sense; it’s critical to our community,” said board member Amy Eckstein, who made the motion for the modification.

Cindie Swisher seconded the motion. “I am very much in favor of supporting the daycare providers. They are a very important part of our community,” she said, adding that Buena Vista will likely have even greater needs for them once the pandemic has passed.

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