Emerge offering businesses COVID-19 prevention equipment

Chad Frey
The Kansan

What was once known as Newton Young Professionals has been renamed — and is taking on the task of helping make business safer during the pandemic. 

Emerge is attempting to help businesses create spaces that are safer from COVID-19 in Harvey County by awarding items to slow the spread of COVID-19 to businesses throughout the county. The group was recently awarded a grant to purchase air purifiers, outdoor heaters and plexiglass shields for area businesses to use. 

“We hope that these measures will allow our local businesses to keep their buildings, customers and employees safe and healthy,” said Rachael Gibbons, Emerge: Harvey County & Newton Area Chamber of Commerce Liaison. “We believe this will allow businesses to stay open longer and avoid quarantines while giving customers the piece-of-mind they need to feel safe shopping and spending their money in Harvey County.”

The grant was for $3,000 from the Kansas Beats the Virus Program operated by the Kansas Leadership Center in partnership with the State of Kansas.

To take advantage of the program, local small businesses must fill out an application online by Feb. 28 that can be found at www.newtonyp.com or at the Newton Area Chamber office (500 N Main, Suite 101).

In the application, businesses must prove that they adhere to four standards of health and safety: face masks, social distancing, hand sanitation and regular surface cleaning. Once the application is submitted, businesses may be visited by a secret shopper prior to being awarded resource assistance to verify their standards of health and safety.

On March 1, the Emerge task force will begin to review applications and award businesses with items on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are depleted. All items will be distributed to selected businesses before March 31.