© 2024
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Local Relief Effort Aims to Help Provincetown Businesses Hurt by Summer COVID Cluster

Signs outside Marine Specialties in Provincetown, shown here on July 22, required masks inside the store prior to the town reinstating its indoor mask mandate the following Sunday.
Jennette Barnes
Signs outside Marine Specialties in Provincetown in July required masks inside.

The summer of 2021 was supposed to be the summer when businesses were able to recoup some of their losses from earlier in the pandemic.

Americans were eager to vacation, and businesses were waiting.

Then the delta variant of COVID-19 hit.

And in Provincetown especially. The Outer Cape town made national headlines — and even international — when vaccinated people started testing positive for the virus, likely brought on by activities surrounding the Fourth of July.

More than 1,000 people were connected to the Provincetown cluster.

That slowed down business for many shops and restaurants and hotels in Provincetown for much of July, and into August.

"It was almost eerie to walk down Commercial Street in July, and to see only one or two, or three people, walking down Commercial Street," Says Radu Luca, the executive director of the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce.

Luca says he sympathizes with the small business owners in town.

"It was a very challenging time for our business owners," Luca says. "And I really feel for them because they had to deal with different issues and challenges like worker shortages, supply issues, and now this hit on top of everything."

But Luca says he feels optimistic heading into the shoulder season. Part of that optimism stems from a new grant program that's aiming to help small Provincetown businesses impacted by the mid-summer cluster.

The Chamber is collaborating with the local non-profit Love Live Local. They are accepting private donations and will give out grants between $500 and $2,000 to Provincetown businesses in need.

The Cape Cod Resilience Fund was started by Love Live Local in April 2020 to provide direct grants to small business owners on Cape Cod to offer assistance through challenging economic conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since its launch the Cape Cod Resilience Fund has raised over $117,000 and provided grants to 114 businesses across Cape Cod.

Now they have launched a month-long grassroots fundraising effort and will begin accepting applications from Provincetown businesses in mid-October.

“Since day one our goal with the Cape Cod Resilience Fund has been to provide the community with the opportunity to provide meaningful support to our local businesses, who are without a doubt the backbone of our local economy” said Love Live Local CEO Amanda Converse in a recent press release. “Provincetown has faced what no other community on the Cape has this summer and we are humbled to partner with Radu and the Provincetown Chamber for this effort. We have no doubt that Cape Codders from near and far will pitch in to help them get through this most recent challenge.”

People can find out how to contribute to the relief fund at lovelivelocal.com/resilience.

Sam Houghton left CAI in February, 2023, to become News Editor at the Martha's Vineyard Times.
He worked at CAI since the summer of 2017. Before that, he worked at the Falmouth Enterprise, where he covered local politics.