Rockford’s leaders plan for best way to re-open economy

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and much of the city has yet to re-open, Rockford’s city leaders are starting to plan now the best way to recover from the pandemic.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara has created 10 “Rockford Rebounding” working groups from different industries to start COVID-19 recovery plans.

McNamara says part of the aim of the groups is to fight for resources that are already available or expected to be available in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“We want them all to be in the best possible position to be able to receive state and federal relief as it continues to come into our community, and the federal government and the state pass more stimulus bills,” he said.

Groups are made up of members from the public and private sector, and there are two chairs for each of them.

Mike Mastroianni from the Rockford Chamber of Commerce is one of the heads of the small business group. He says, besides directing business owners on how to apply for federal loans, he hopes to help small businesses adjust after re-opening.

“People are going to have to start to figure out how to market their products and services through the internet,” Mastroianni said. “They’re going to have to probably have some idea about finances. You’re going to come out of this, if you’re a small business, saddled with loans that you’re going to have to pay as well as getting your business back up and running.”

Rosecrance president David Gomel is one of the heads of the health group. He says part of his group’s focus is addressing disparities in healthcare coverage that exist in the city.

“Regardless of their funding source of their ability to pay, we want to make sure this entire community has access to healthcare,” Gomel said.

McNamara added, “My biggest goal is to make sure that the City of Rockford as an organization, and the City of Rockford as a community, with all of our partner agencies, are ready to go and put in the best position possible to hit the ground running when it is safe and responsible for us to do so.”

McNamara says he’s meeting with each of the committee chairs this week and they will start making plans next week.

They’re being asked to meet at least once a week for the next three or four months.

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