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Governor Cooper pushes phase-2 pandemic business recovery plan and promises to veto abortion ban bills during a visit to Asheville

Governor Roy Cooper visits with employees at Legends Barber and Beauty Shop in Asheville
Governor Roy Cooper and owner James Cannady visit with employees and clients at Legends Barber and Beauty Shop in Asheville

Governor Roy Cooper visited Legends Barber and Beauty Shop in west Asheville, where he announced the launch of Phase 2 of the Business Recovery Grant (BRG) Program.

The program provides a payment to eligible North Carolina businesses that experienced a significant economic loss due to the pandemic. Eligibility has been expanded to include businesses not eligible in the first round of grants, including: barbershops, cosmetology businesses, gyms and more businesses.

Cooper urged small businesses to apply, “We know you lost money during the pandemic, and this program can help!”

Buncombe County commissioner Al Whitesides was there for the announcement – and to get a haircut. Whitesides says the program is a much-needed shot in the arm for local businesses, “We have so many businesses that were hit hard by the pandemic and that are still holding on by a shoestring,” he said.

Legends owner Darryl Cannady said he had to close his business during the first few months of the pandemic and is still feeling the effects.

“Many more businesses including barbershops like Darryl’s are now eligible,” said Kareen Boncales, Director of Entrepreneurship at Mountain BizWorks. “So if you are small business, don’t hesitate to apply.”

The application deadline is June first. Businesses can apply at ncdor.gov/business-recovery-grant.

During his visit, the governor was asked about the leaked draft of the Supreme court abortion ruling. Cooper said he would veto any bill banning abortion that came across his desk and believes the current legislature would sustain those vetoes.

“The government should not be in the exam room with a woman and her doctor,” said Cooper. “It is a tragedy that this court may completely take away a woman’s right to reproductive freedom - in all cases, and that’s wrong and why these state elections for the legislature, are going to be so important. “

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.