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COVID-19 economic injury assessment being conducted in region that includes Aiken County

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COVID-19 economic injury assessment being conducted in region that includes Aiken County 1

A COVID-19 economic injury assessment is underway in Aiken County and nearby areas.

The Lower Savannah Council of Governments, or LSCOG, launched the information-gathering process in January, according to a Monday news release from the organization.

The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate the overall impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the LSCOG region of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties.

A U.S. Economic Development Administration grant is funding the assessment.

Money for the grant came from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The assessment involves three types of surveys that specifically target the public, businesses and stakeholders in the Lower Savannah region.

The link for the online survey for the public is at lscog.org.

In addition, hundreds of postcards were mailed to rural areas in the Lower Savannah region to inform residents with low incomes who might not have internet access that they can go to the S.C. Works Centers in their respective counties to complete a survey.

To receive a hard copy of the public survey to fill out, call 803-649-7981 or email mwolven@lscog.org.

“We have already received some feedback, and more than 50% of them (the responses) are from Aiken and Bamberg counties. We encourage folks from Allendale, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties to participate in this survey. The information from our general population is critical to this assessment,” said Emory Langston, administrator of the LSCOG Planning, Community and Economic Development department.

Business surveys are divided into small business and large manufacturer groups.

Stakeholder surveys are divided into the following groups: educational institutions, health care providers, local governments and nonprofits.

Plan calls for conducting focus groups for businesses and stakeholders after their surveys have been completed.

The deadline to participate in a survey will be May of this year.

Feedback from the assessment will assist in understanding what economic injury has occurred in the Lower Savannah region in the short-term, responding to this economic injury in the long-term and planning to make the regional economy more economically resilient in the future, according to the release.

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