Early next week, Spanish Fork residents will receive a postcard-sized mailer with three vouchers that can be used at participating businesses in the city.

The vouchers are part of a new program launched by Spanish Fork officials to assist residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while also offering aid to struggling small businesses in south Utah County.

The “Shop Local Program,” which was announced during Tuesday’s Spanish Fork City Council meeting, will allow residents to “take these cards and use them as cash at the businesses that have signed up to participate,” public information officer Nick Porter said.

Porter added there would be “an easy streamline process” where the business brings can brings return the vouchers to the city “and we cut them a check.”

“It’s a chance to, for the holiday season, give a gift to each of the residents that have had trying times with everything going on in the last few months and to encourage spending in Spanish Fork,” Porter told the city council. “And to also help the businesses, particularly those that have struggled throughout this pandemic to get money into their hands.”

“So that they have cash in hand as possible, and they’re able to go about their business,” he added.

The program is funded through federal CARES Act funds approved by Congress in March and distributed to states, which then further distributed the money to counties and cities.

It is similar to coupon programs launched by other Utah County cities aimed at encouraging residents to support and shop at local businesses.

In September, Santaquin implemented a business stimulus program to allow residents to spend four $10 coupons at participating businesses.

Payson launched a nearly identical stimulus program in October, using CARES Act funds to provide residents with coupons that they could use to shop at their choice of dozens of local businesses.

Nearly 300 Spanish Fork businesses had opted in to the program as of Tuesday, according to Dave Anderson, director of community development and planning.

“And it keeps growing every day,” Porter said.

Porter said the program was inspired by those that “other cities in the county have done,” adding that Spanish Fork took “the best parts of what they’ve done and created our own.”

“We’re excited for this program,” he said.

The monetary value of each voucher was not specified during Tuesday’s meeting, but Porter said more information would be announced on the city’s Facebook page at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The participating businesses will be listed on a city web page that will go live on Wednesday, Porter said.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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