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McHenry County task force shares recommendations for opening local businesses

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks speaks at the podium during a League of Women Voters forum discussing the dilemma of an elected coroner's office on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake.
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks speaks at the podium during a League of Women Voters forum discussing the dilemma of an elected coroner's office on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake.

A task force composed of local business and health professionals released a series of recommendations Friday geared toward safely reopening McHenry County businesses.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks created the Resume McHenry County Task Force in April to gather input from the local business community for reopening. For the past month, the group met weekly to develop strategies they believe will support businesses while protecting employees and customers, according to a news release.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous challenges on residents and businesses, but we are strong and resilient. We must continue to work together," Franks said in an official statement. "Please support our McHenry County businesses. They need our help now more than ever.”

The task force's recommendations include the exploration of a local revolving loan fund, or a “fund of last resort” to assist businesses that are in critical short- term need and might not be eligible for traditional financing. The group also proposed a COVID-19 multi-sector recovery plan and a centralized location where businesses could receive personal protective equipment.

The recommendations were announced the same day that Illinois entered Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker's five-phase Restore Illinois plan. The plan's third phase loosens restrictions on businesses including bars and restaurants, health centers and retailers, while still requiring safety measures such as masks and social distancing.

“The safety of our workforce, customers and residents is paramount as we transition into Phase 3 of the State’s plan to reopen on May 29, but we are also thinking ahead many months from now to make sure our businesses have the resources, assistance and tools they need to thrive," McHenry County Economic Development Corporation President Jim McConoughey said in an official statement.

The county has continued to reach out to stakeholders, including businesses, faith-based groups and others for input, according to the release.

McHenry County and the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation will partner to communicate with businesses and stakeholders and put the recommendations into action.

The complete Resume McHenry County report is available online here. Additional information about the county's response to COVID-19 can be found at mchenrycountyil.gov/covid19resources. Residents also can call 211 to speak with an agent for service referrals.

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