Gov. Polis Provides Update on COVID Response from Northern Colorado
GREELEY – On Friday, October 2nd, Colorado Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in Greeley. The Governor was joined by Betsy Markey, executive director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Rick Garcia, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs, and Representative Mary Young. Gov. Polis visited Northern Colorado today to meet with COVID Relief Fund recipients, and discuss ways the State is supporting communities and their recoveries.
“Much like our state as a whole, Northern Colorado is an epicenter for innovation and entrepreneurship and reflects our diversity. I was thrilled to meet with educators, small businesses, artists, and hardworking working Coloradans today in Greeley, Windsor and Fort Collins about how they are creatively responding to this pandemic and helping to build back our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We’re not through this pandemic yet, and we all must do a better job of wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and being smart to slow the spread of the virus. Get tested if you have any symptoms at one of our dozens of free testing sites listed at covid19.colorado.gov. My team is proud to continue partnering with our local communities and supporting their efforts as we all work together to bounce back stronger than before.”
The Governor was joined at the briefing by State Rep. Mary Young who has been an effective voice for Greeley at the state legislature and is also a UNC alumnus.
“It’s heartwarming to see how Coloradans have come together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help our communities recover,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “The legislature’s top priority was to help our state safely reopen and to provide direct assistance to hardworking Coloradans who need just a little help to get through this crisis. I’m proud of our bipartisan work to provide grants to small businesses to help them get through these difficult times and the additional resources we directed to help Coloradans pay their rent, mortgage, or utility bills.”
During the briefing, OEDIT Executive Director Markey discussed the Energize Colorado Gap Fund which launched last month to help small businesses, the CLIMBER Fund and additional economic resources for small businesses, nonprofits, freelancers, and independent contractors.
DOLA Executive Director Garcia discussed the department’s local partnerships, the distribution of federal CARES Act funding to immediately and effectively respond to the economic challenges of the pandemic, and additional efforts being conducted by DOLA to respond to the pandmeic.
The Governor began the day in Greeley meeting with the Greeley Small Business Development Corporation, which has provided free, confidential consulting services for small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Larimer and Weld counties during the pandemic. The organization has played a critical role in helping local businesses access state and federal resources, like PPP funds, Small Business Association Loans, and Energize Colorado grants. Gov. Polis then visited COVID Relief Fund recipient, Distortions Unlimited, a company that makes Halloween masks, props, and animatronics for haunted attractions, and has collected funds to support local artists.
In Windsor, the Governor visited a COVID Relief Fund recipient, Dementia Together, an organization that provides support services and enrichment opportunities to Coloradans living with dementia and their care partners. They received $12,500 to increase the frequency of their support group meetings. Governor also visited Grandview Elementary School, hearing from students, teachers and staff about their COVID-19 protocols for in-person learning. As the Governor announced, the State in partnership with the State Emergency Operations Center and Colorado Department of Education has delivered 1.1 million medical-grade KN-95 masks for staff who work directly with students to every school district. This is part of the Polis administration’s broader effort to provide schools with the resources they need to reopen safely. Larimer County received 8600 masks per week for a total of 77,400 in the last 9 weeks and Weld County received 6,900 masks per week, for a total of 62,100 masks in the last 9 weeks totaling 139,500 masks for schools in northern Colorado.
To cap off the day, the Governor toured the Fort Collins River District to see the economic redevelopment and reinvestment in businesses along the river. The Governor also met with staff at the COVID Relief recipient, Meals on Wheels Fort Collins, which used the funds to deliver fresh, healthy foods and social interaction to seniors who have limited mobility in the greater Fort Collins area. They received $25,000 to continue delivering meals to families in need and expand their outreach. To date, the COVID Relief Fund has awarded more than $2.2 million to more than 75 organizations serving Larimer and Weld Counties.