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Shelby Township DDA looking to help local businesses

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 20, 2020

 During a Shelby Township Downtown Development Authority meeting July 14, members speak about ways to help local businesses recover from the effects of COVID-19.

During a Shelby Township Downtown Development Authority meeting July 14, members speak about ways to help local businesses recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Screenshot by Kara Szymanski

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Downtown Development Authority is looking to help Shelby Township businesses that might have suffered from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many businesses were forced to shut down and many were able to reopen, but with some restrictions. Restrictions commonly include reduced hours or fewer customers allowed in a facility at a time.

This is drastically affecting many businesses.

During a township DDA meeting July 14, the members spoke of how they could help local businesses recover from the effects of the virus.

Julijana Misich, the township’s planning and zoning director, said that at this time, the township is not fining businesses for putting out signs as long as they follow the current ordinance.

“Somebody that has signs that are not permitted, we are not fining them or such, so we have been very relaxed and allowing people to advertise without an ordinance. As long as they are following the temporary sign ordinance, then we are letting them go,” she said.

Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said it’s a struggle for local businesses right now because of the change in safety guidelines for businesses.

“Especially with the 50% capacity. I mean, you know you have a 50% capacity, but you’re still having to step over that. It’s a struggle. It really is,” he said.

Franko Mancini, also a board member, said it’s about getting businesses set up and knowledgeable of what they can do.

“The input to helping out these businesses is giving them knowledge and setting them up for whatever aid we can give them and the Health Department helping in what they can do (and the) township easing up in the allowing of outdoor seating and tent setups and that nature — that part of the township ordinance in seating or the use of parking lots in that scope,” he said.

Bill Andreopoulos, a member of the DDA and a business owner, said that it has been difficult for his business and other businesses in Shelby Township.

“It’s been hard to find people to work,” he said.

Andreopoulos said he has started to use software to find people to fill the open positions.

Some businesses have begun using outdoor tents and seating in parking lots to abide by the social distancing rules.

The township is asking that businesses interested in using an outdoor tent fill out an application first, for which the fees have been waived. The application usually costs $200.

A tent cannot cause danger and must follow regulations.

The DDA has posted on its Facebook page that it wants to help promote local businesses and gives instructions for contacting it for business promotion.

For more information on the township helping businesses, call the township at (586) 731-5154.

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