City Council moves to free up $85 million to fight COVID-19

City Council advanced legislation allowing Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration to spend $85 million to fight the novel coronavirus, even as some members questioned the city’s plan to help small businesses deal with the pandemic.

Managing Director Brian Abernathy said the money will be used for a variety of purposes, including the staffing of essential personnel, purchase of personal protection equipment and leasing of quarantine sites.

“It’s likely we’ll have to go back for some more,” Kenney said. “We thought that this was an appropriate number to address the initial impacts of the dilemma.”

The emergency spending bill, which also provides an extra $400,000 for council’s own public awareness campaign, could be approved as early as next Thursday. 

No members of the public or press were allowed to attend the hearing, though it was broadcasted on television and streamed live online.

Several council members raised concerns about the administration’s COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund. Details on the $9.25-million program were released earlier this week.

As previously reported by Metro, businesses with revenue under $500,000 a year are eligible for a $5,000 microgrant, and those that gross between $500,000 and $3 million can receive grants of up to $25,000. Companies with revenues


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