PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The pandemic has brought tough times for many businesses, especially small mom and pop stores. The cold weather is bringing new challenges to businesses already hit hard by the pandemic.
“What’s really happened is that leisure visitor, which is the person that comes for a wedding or to come visit grandma, that person is really not around right now,” said Dan Cook, Tourism Marketing Manager in Prince William County Office of Tourism.
Just in time for the holidays, Cook said they launched a new “Passport to Prince William” program. The free online tool sends deals and coupons directly to your phone. Cooks said it provides a list of the stores and restaurants that are open.
“It really was an opportunity that we saw. We really want to engage Northern Virginia, the D.C. region to come out and support our local restaurants, retailers and shops,” said Cook.
Virginia Tourism Corporation awarded Prince William County and other jurisdictions a grant to help their businesses recover during the pandemic. Cook said they’ve been working with their economic development office to try and get grants for tents, heaters and other safety equipment to support small businesses during this time.
“We’ve gotten closer to the small businesses and as you go into the small shops and small restaurants, they are putting families to work. So as you go in and you support these restaurants, you support these family-owned businesses. It’s a way to keep them financially stable throughout this entire pandemic,” said Cook.