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6 Ways We’re Supporting Boulder Businesses This Winter

We expanded the Boulder Business Recovery Program to help show our local economy some extra love this winter.

Every community member, worker and business in Boulder has been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. We created the Boulder Business Recovery Program (BBRP) to help businesses safely operate by expanding outdoors over the summer. As colder days approach, we’ve found creative ways to ensure public health and safety while continuing to support local businesses.

Here are a few actions taken in direct response to the needs of businesses in the community:

1. Continue outdoor expansion

The BBRP has been extended through at least February 2021, enabling businesses to expand outside into heated tents to help offset capacity limits. We hope this will help businesses stay open by making it more comfortable to be outdoors when the temperature drops.

2. Keep street closures in place

To support the program, street closures currently in place along west Pearl Street and on the University Hill Event Street (13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue) will remain in effect and the HOP bus will continue to run on a modified route.

3. Maintain curbside pick-up zones

The Curbside Pickup Zone Program converts some loading zones and other spaces in downtown Boulder and on University Hill to allow curbside pickup from businesses. These zones will be free of charge for 10 minutes to provide patrons and services enough time to pick up orders and will be clearly marked in English and Spanish.

4. Subsidize third-party delivery

Indoor dining limitations, consumer cautiousness and anticipated weather changes have impacted almost every restaurant, café and coffee shop in our community. Some are further impacted by costs from third-party delivery services.

We responded by creating the Restaurant Safe Ordering Service Subsidy – or Restaurant S.O.S. Through this program we are subsidizing a third-party restaurant delivery program from Nov. 12 through Dec. 30.

Restaurant S.O.S. is intended to help community members follow social distancing guidelines and incentivize community support for local restaurants. It’s made possible through federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

5. Support sustainable takeout

Even as we address the public health crisis, the climate emergency continues. To respond to both, we provided $70,000 in funding for sustainable takeout. This subsidy helped 74 Boulder restaurants purchase sustainable takeout materials, such as recyclable and compostable takeout containers.

This is part of Circular Boulder, the city’s effort to create less waste by keeping materials in circulation longer and prevent waste in the first place. The subsidy was available to Boulder restaurants on a first-come, first-served basis, but the city’s Climate Initiatives Department hopes to provide more funding this year.

5. Help fund small businesses

The city dedicated $675,000 of its federal CARES funding to create the Boulder Small Business Grant Program. Over 200 small businesses were approved for this competitive grant opportunity, aimed at helping small, local businesses address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those, 41% self-certified as woman-owned, and 21% self-certified as minority-owned, while 16% were local nonprofit organizations.

The city also provided $200,000 to help fund an earlier Boulder Chamber Small Business Relief Fund to help local businesses facing unexpected expenses due to the pandemic.

Visit the city’s coronavirus page for business resources.

Published: Nov. 6, 2020