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COVID-19 And Businesses: San Antonio Approves Millions More In Small Business Support Funds

Businesses and city services for workers continued to adjust throughout the coronavirus crisis. As restrictions on the community changed to reflect current health conditions, businesses expanded hours, offered new services and looked for more employees.

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

Alejandra Lopez, the City of San Antonio’s Director of Economic Development, reported that $38 million was approved by City Council members this summer to support small businesses. The vast majority of that money, she said, is for grants.

“As of last week we’ve awarded more than 1,000 grants ... totaling just around $25 million,” Lopez said, noting that City Council has recently approved several million more dollars in funding.

Small business owners can find more information about COVID-19 grants and recovery on the city’s website.

THEME PARKS

San Antonio Zoo: The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily to foot traffic and offer drive thru visits on Friday and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at sazoo.org.

Morgan's Wonderland: The facility for special-needs visitors planned to remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season. "Interaction is at the heart of who we are and what we do," it explained in a statement on its website, "and until EVERYONE can play together again, we’ll continue interacting and making a difference -- from a distance."

Schlitterbahn: The water park reopened in New Braunfels and Galveston. Visitors can expect health, safety and hygiene protocols in place. Guests will be required to make a reservation and must complete a health screening 24 hours before entering the water park. Staff and guests will have their temperatures screened upon arrival, and the park will include social distancing markers to help groups maintain six feet apart from others. Learn more about the reopenings here.

INSURANCE

USAA: The San Antonio-based company returned $270 million in premiums to auto insurance policyholders. The nation’s fifth largest property-casualty insurer previously announced plans to return $800 million at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company reports fewer drivers means fewer accidents and fewer claims.

CHARITIES

Goodwill: Retail stores and donation locations in the San Antonio region are open. New safety measures include Plexiglass partitions at registers, social distancing markers, and limited capacity inside stories. Goodwill also offers contactless curbside pickup and online shopping. Goodwill is also collecting nonperishable food donations for the San Antonio Food Bank. Learn more here.

For more information about how to get help or how to help others, follow TPR's special blog about charities and special services.

ARTS & CULTURE

Blue Star Contemporary: It reopened on June 11. All visitors must schedule an online reservation prior to entrance. The art complex requires face masks for all guests older than ten and temperature checks before entry with a touchless thermometer. No large groups are allowed in, and social distancing is required.

SHOPPING AND FOOD STORES

Shopping malls: Hours vary from center to center and from store to store.
The Forum / The Rim / La Cantera / North Star Mall / South Park Mall / Ingram Park Mall / Rolling Oaks Mall / San Marcos Premium Outlets / Tanger Outlets

RESTAURANTS

Restaurant information: To help keep local restaurants and the nearly 60,000 food service employees in the city afloat, NOWCastSA created this map. Get added by emailing news@nowcastsa.org with subject line, "AddMeToTheMap"

More restaurant resources: A website helped customers learn which restaurants and other food related businesses stayed open and offered takeout. SATakeOut.com provided an interactive map for San Antonians to locate eating establishments, their hours of operation and their food offerings. Hundreds of restaurants and food related businesses were listed. Restaurants not listed had the option of signing up at the website too.

City resources: The city also created a special website for restaurants, specifically for customers craving their favorite dishes. Check it out here. Restaurant owners may also add their establishments to the list. Businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak may find assistance from Culinaria Emergency Relief Fund, San Antonio Tip Jar, Bartender Emergency Assistance Program and Dining Bonds Initiative.

FUNERAL HOMES

Porter Loring: Helen Loring Dear of Porter Loring Mortuaries said mourners may go to porterloring.com and upload pictures of themselves and messages. Both are printed up and placed on thick paper with faces on the front and messages on the back. Then they are placed in the pews at indoor services. The new practice was called From My Heart to Yours.

Mission Park Chapels and Cemeteries: The company offered drive-in funerals where mourners could watch services on a big screen from the comfort of their vehicles. Learn more about their services here.

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