Home Business Update #10 (5 p.m., 5/6/2020) City of Rochester Makes Resident Participation Available for Virtual Meetings, Opens Second Round of Business Microloans and Announces Outdoor Dining Process and Free Masks for Businesses

Update #10 (5 p.m., 5/6/2020) City of Rochester Makes Resident Participation Available for Virtual Meetings, Opens Second Round of Business Microloans and Announces Outdoor Dining Process and Free Masks for Businesses

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City Manager Blaine Cox and Mayor Caroline McCarley wish to provide regular updates to the community regarding the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as officials continue to monitor the crisis locally and nationally.

Public Input for Virtual Meetings

Residents are now able to provide public input during live, virtual city meetings.

In order to sign up to provide live input, residents will need to fill out and submit this form online by noon on the day of the meeting. Residents must call into the meeting using the number which they have provided on this form so that they can be identified during the meeting. The number will not be visually displayed on broadcast or streaming.

This form will only need to filled out once and will be in effect for all subsequent  meetings.

The first meeting to use this new system will be the Monday, May 18 meeting for the Planning Board.

Residents will still be able to submit comments for all City Council meetings by emailing [email protected] or leaving a voicemail at 603-330-7107. For all other city meetings, please connect with the appropriate staff for the committee for the email address or voicemail number. Comments for City Council meetings can also be mailed to City Clerk/Public Input, 31 Wakefield Street, Rochester, NH 03867 and must be received at least 3 days prior to the meeting date. Emailed comments for all meetings must be received by 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting and voicemails must be left by 12 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Important Information for Restaurants Seeking to Offer Outdoor Dining

In accordance with Gov. Chris Sununu’s Stay-At-Home 2.0 program, businesses in New Hampshire will be permitted to re-open in phases throughout the month of May. Included in that plan is an option for restaurants to resume eat-in operations as long as that service is provided outdoors and with tables spaced appropriately.

The City of Rochester’s Economic Development Department will work with restaurants that do not typically provide outdoor seating to develop options that allow those businesses to do so safely, on a temporary basis. These operations will be regulated through a combination of the city’s existing outdoor dining rules, as well as the orders set forth by the state.

You can view the city’s outdoor dining ordinance here, and the state’s order here.

Restaurants are asked to submit an application for temporary outdoor seating, and the city will work closely with those that do to facilitate re-opening.

To access the form and begin the application process, click here.

City Announces Second Round of Interest-Free Microloans for Businesses

Following the success of an initial round of microloans for Rochester businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Council has authorized a second round of microloans to support city businesses in need.

Loans will have a 24-month term with the first payment due 120-days from loan origination. Monthly loan payments will be processed through an electronic funds transfer established with the City. The interest free loans will have a fixed effective rate of zero percent for the life of the loan. Loans will require a personal or corporate guarantee from the borrowers and have minimal documentation requirements

Rochester businesses who did not take part in the initial round of loans will be eligible for this upcoming round, which will provide loans of up to $5,000.

Free Masks for Rochester Businesses

Businesses in need of disposable masks can request from the State of New Hampshire at no cost.

As part of a phased opening of businesses this month, state health officials are requiring employees to wear masks. Information about the re-openings and the additional guidelines specific businesses will have to follow can be found here.

Additionally, residents are strongly encouraged to wear either a face mask or covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing (maintaining at least six feet from others) may be hard to maintain.

Masks will be available starting Tuesday, May 5 and will be delivered to Division of Motor Vehicle offices, including in Dover, for pick-up by business owners.

To request masks for your business and choose a delivery date, click here.

These masks can be used by employees and customers, and businesses will need to reorder masks as needed.

Instructions for how to fashion a homemade face covering with no sewing required, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can be found here.

COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has been declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization and has moved Governor Chris Sununu to declare a State of Emergency in New Hampshire and President Donald Trump to declare a National Emergency.

For the latest updates from City officials regarding the novel coronavirus emergency, visit the City website at www.rochesternh.net and the Rochester News and Events Portal at rochesterportal.com.

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