North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a new grant program directed towards businesses and nonprofits that have been hurt because of the coronavirus pandemic today during a press briefing. 

$15 million of federal funds are going towards the Job Retention Grant Program, in which businesses can qualify for up to $250,000 in grants, Cooper said. 

“The Job Retention Grant Program will use $15 million in federal relief money to help businesses that have seen a dip in services but keeping employees on payroll,” Cooper said.

The deadline for businesses to apply is Sept. 1 and businesses cannot have received aid from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to Cooper. 88 businesses total in Elon received PPP loans, and North Carolina has received 129,289 loans totaling $12,288,152,674.

Cooper also announced that $95 million in federal funds will be directed towards schools to support more nurses, counselors and educational support for students. A hotline for families struggling to find childcare amidst pandemic conditions and the start of the school year has also been opened, according to Cooper. 

The governor also said more direction is being shared to law enforcement around the state and on college campuses by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety about enforcing coronavirus mask policies and gathering limits. 

“While no one wants violations to end in arrests, it’s important for the health and safety of our communities that we all do our part,” Cooper said. “We’re encouraging people, if you’re in a retail store and you see people not wearing masks or employees not wearing masks, to tell the management.” 

According to North Carolina Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks, the department is taking

“community oriented policing strategy,” encouraging citizens and businesses to “voluntarily comply with the law.” The role of law enforcement would be primarily to educate people in communities, as well as enforce the law if needed, Hooks said. 

“We’re not asking people to go out and arrest people, we’re asking that if you have to take enforcement action, there are mechanisms available to you such as a citation,” Hooks said. 

Cumulatively, there have been 140,824 lab confirmed cases, 1,070 people hospitalized and 2,287 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the state of North Carolina. In Alamance County, there have been 2,567 cases and 42 deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.