Fargo commissioners weigh options for COVID-19 business assistance
FARGO, N.D. — Fargo city commissioners are planning to provide assistance to local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in addition to assistance already available at the state and federal level. Commissioners will look at a number of options to assist bars, restaurants, retail and other businesses.
Such relief options could include waiving next year’s liquor license fees, adjusting utility bills, and property tax reductions.
Jim Gilmour, City Strategic Planning Director, says at least 30 businesses in Fargo have closed so far since the pandemic began. Seven hotels and 19 restaurants and breweries are among the businesses that have not renewed licenses as required by the city.
A monthly survey of business leaders in nine Midwest and Plains states suggested the falter of confidence in the region’s economy. The survey, conducted by Creighton University, showed that the confidence index – looking ahead six months – plummeted 20 points to 50.0 this month from October’s 70.4. This is the first time since April that the Mid-America Index has dropped, falling from 70.2 in October to 69.0 in November. Any number above 50 suggests growth.
The North Dakota Department of Health reported 486 new positive cases on Wednesday, bringing the state’s active cases to 5,236. The state is approaching 1,000 cumulative deaths, with Cass, Burleigh, and Ward Counties leading with the highest number of reported fatalities.