OGDEN — Ogden City has prepared a formal business recovery plan that will be implemented into September.
The plan is a direct response to the local and global economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was developed after a series of meetings with local businesses and the distribution of a “business-recovery” survey that was available to all Ogden business owners, according to city council documents.
The city’s Business Development Department identified three themes from those interactions: Ogden companies are seeing a reduction in revenue across all industries; government-to-business and business-to-business communication will be critical to recovery; and employee health and safety is key for businesses to maintain current operations.
To help small businesses potentially recover some of the lost revenue, the city is working with government, education and private industry representatives to connect businesses with possible contracting opportunities. Public events featuring the Composites and Aerospace of Northern Utah organization and large defense and aerospace companies, like Northrop Grumman are in the works, according to the plan. The city is also working with large institutions with a local presence like Weber State University, Intermountain Healthcare and the Internal Revenue Service to identify possible small business contracting scenarios.
For more information and to track a regularly updated calendar of events, go to the city’s business COVID-19 economic recovery hub at ogdencitycovid-19economicrecovery-ogden.hub.arcgis.com.
The ongoing distribution of federal dollars also plays a significant role in the recovery.
Ogden Director of Community and Economic Development Tom Christopulos said the city has already received $2.6 million from the federal government’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which was established with the CARES Act, and could receive an additional $5.2 million from the fund.
The money will be used to help cover virus-related shortfalls between necessary business expenses and existing funding sources. Money in the program is also available to businesses located in Ogden’s Central Business District (which includes all land from 20th to 27th streets between Wall and Adams avenues) that make physical modifications to comply with physical distancing requirements.
Applications for the program can be submitted at the Ogden Business website, www.ogdenbusiness.com. Christopulos said applications are reviewed by CED staff weekly and funding is distributed monthly. So as to not squander the money, Christopulos said priority is given to businesses that are likely to remain viable with some extra help.
“There are certain business that, unfortunately, may not, even with our help, be able to go forward,” he said.
Regarding the communication theme, the city is updating its business email list and will provide businesses with regular COVID-19 information updates. The city is also hoping to hold consistently scheduled “roundtable” events for businesses owners. When scheduled, those events will also be publicized on the recovery hub web page.
The page will also include a compilation of re-opening guidance from the Weber-Morgan Health Department to ensure employers can obtain local information on how to best ensure workforce health.
Though the city has yet to take any binding action, Mike Caldwell said the recommendation from his office is that businesses recommend employees wear masks at all times when 6 feet of social distancing can’t be practiced.
“I would just say (masks) are strongly recommended everywhere,” he said.