Happening this week around the county …

Martin’s Food Store in Rising Sun has signed up with the US Department of Health and Human Services to be a provider of the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

“Our pharmacists are trusted health advisors in the local communities that we serve and well-equipped to safely administer future COVID-19 vaccines,” said Leigh Shirley, director of pharmacy operations for GIANT Company, which includes Martin’s stores. “Being part of this federal pharmacy program lays the groundwork once a vaccine is available to help increase access to and distribution of the vaccine.”

Walgreen’s, Walmart and CVS are also on board.

Pfizer has announced its intentions to have 50 million doses of the vaccine it has developed by the end of the year. At phase 3 of testing it has shown a 90% efficacy. The pharmaceutical company expects to have 1.2 billion doses by next spring. Each person would need two injections to be protected from the novel coronavirus.

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Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging holiday shoppers to consider local businesses first when selecting food, decorations and gifts.

Franchot announced his “Shop Maryland for the Holidays” campaign in late October, bringing together nine Maryland-based credit unions, which are offerings reward points for local purchases made through the end of the year. APGFCU is one of those partners.

“I’ve suggested for some time we need to do something to help small business,” Franchot said. Calling small business the core of Maryland’s economy, Franchot favors making more funding available to help them through the pandemic.

“We’ve got $585.5 million identified as of June 30 that is unassigned,” Franchot said of the state budget. “We need to pour some of that into small business relief.”

Last week Gov. Larry Hogan announced the disbursal of $70 million. Among the targets for the funds is $20 million for personal protective equipment to build up the state stock pile, $15 million to bolster customer support for unemployment services, $10 million in relief for renters, $10 million toward planning to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, and $10 million to support area food banks. Foster care, energy assistance and SNAP get funds as well and Hogan has dedicated $1 million in the technology to monitor wastewater, which has become one of the best ways to detect the virus in communities.

All that having been said, Franchot wants money to go to small business too.

“We owe it to these small businesses because they’ve been loyal to us,” he said. “If a $5,000 check were to go to a small business they could pick their chins up.”

“We are going to lose more in November and December if no revenue is coming in,” he said. “That’s why “Shop Maryland for the Holidays” is important.”

“Some of us have kept our jobs and kept our income,” Franchot said, adding he would like to encourage what he calls “private sector philanthropy.”

“Take a couple of hundred dollars and buy gift cards from these local businesses,” he suggested. “There are small businesses in Cecil County that are hanging by their fingertips.”

Cecil County Office of Economic Development is administering a grant program to help restaurants

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Chester County Prison has been given the 21st Century Criminal Justice Best Practices Award for its Cognitive Behavioral Equine Enhancement program.

The program helps inmates at the Pennsylvania detention center deal with anxiety, depression and hopelessness. While the inmates never ride, they do build relationships with the horses and staff who are trained equine specialists and certified mental health professionals.

“Over the years, the results of the Cognitive Behavioral Equine Enhancement Program have been incredible, with recidivism rates for new arrests and technical violations recorded as drastically lower than statewide and national levels,” said Chris Murphy, chief of the Chester County Probation, Parole and Pre-Trial Services. “We are proud of this program and the results that it has achieved, not just in the lowering of recidivism rates, but in giving both men and women who qualify for the program access to creative and effective ways of addressing mental health issues.”

Gateway Horse Works partners with the prison staff to conduct the program.

Janine Quigley, chair of the Committee on County Criminal Justice Systems for the 21st Century, presented the award to the county.

“Chester County’s Cognitive Behavioral Equine Enhancement Program brings together corrections staff, adult probation staff and the nonprofit sector to provide a system of support that targets anxiety, depression and hopelessness among prison inmates. The results have been incredible. It is clear that the program is having a positive effect on recidivism, and it can be shared and replicated in other counties so that our communities as a whole benefit,” Quigley said.

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Keeping in mind that Thanksgiving is going to look different this year, Aldi is showing that the traditional dinner can be had for less than $30.

Using the American Farm Bureau Federation‘s annual dinner cost survey, Aldi has a shopping list that includes a Butterball turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberries, canned pumpkin pie mix, a pie crust, rolls and more.

“Customers expect unbeatable prices at ALDI and the holidays are no exception. While nearly every aspect of our lives is rapidly changing, we promise to continue to do everything in our power to keep prices down,” said Jason Hart, President and CEO, ALDI U.S. “We’re proud to provide shoppers everything they need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal from ALDI for less than $30.”

Additionally, every Aldi employee is being given two $30 gift cards, which can be used for themselves or to pass along to someone in need.

Aldi is located at 98 Chesapeake Boulevard in Elkton.

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Not a fan of cooking the big meal or won’t be having lots of guests this year? Kitty Knight House in Galena is offering a ready-to-heat Thanksgiving Kit for $25 per person.

Place your order by noon Nov. 18. Choose roasted turkey or glazed ham, salad, two sides. dessert and dinner rolls and schedule your curbside pick up.

Go to KittyKnight.com for details and ordering.

Kitty Knight House at 14028 Augustine Herman Highway will be open Thanksgiving Day with three buffet seatings at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m. The cost is $45 per person, with children under 10 eating for $21.95

You must have a reservation. Seating is limited. Call 410-648-5200.

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The Bayard House in Chesapeake City is also serving eat in or take out complete with soup and salad, your choice of five different entrees — roasted turkey, spiral pit ham, holiday stuffed tenderloin, filet and crab cake or roasted leg of lamb — along with sides and dessert.

Or get Thanksgiving To Go with a 14- to 16-pound stuffed turkey, gravy, whipped potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce and your choice of a pumpkin, pecan or apple pie. It’s enough to serve a family of four for $220.

Orders or reservations must be in by Nov. 19. Call 410-885-5040.

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The company that already owns Arby’s, Sonic, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Jimmy John’s expects to add Dunkin’ to its name plate by the end of the year.

Inspire Brands will pay $11.3 billion to acquire some 9,600 locations across the United States. News of the acquisition — which includes Baskin Robbins — represents an increase in stock value.

There are four Dunkins in Cecil County; two in Elkton and one each in North East and Perryville.

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When the clock struck 8:01 Monday morning the Cecil County Office of Economic Development got bombarded with applications for its Cecil Restaurant Relief Grant.

Sandra Edwards, interim director, said more than 40 emails bearing completed application packages arrived instantly, with more trickling in over the course of the day. There’s a $660,000 pot of money that needs to be spent before 2020 comes to a close.

“Our hope is we can get these reviewed through both departments and the funds out,” Edwards said of the process involving Economic Development and Finance. “We’re still in the process of the Cecil Cares 2 grants.”

The restaurant relief grants will go in increments of $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 depending on the number of full time employees and other factors. Cecil Cares 2 is a second round of COVID-relief funding that was made available for businesses in need of support for operating expenses, lease or rent, purchase of personal protective equipment or telework costs to name a few.

The Cecil Restaurant Relief Grant is just for eateries in the county that need help to stay viable as COVID continues to attack and force these businesses to recreate themselves and their business models.

Edwards said this money would go on a first come-first serve basis, reviewing applications in order of their receipt. While the deadline is Friday at 4 p.m. she figures the money will be allocated before that day arrives.

Business Beat is a weekly column on business happenings in and around Cecil County. If interested in having your business featured in this column, contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007.

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