City’s rent assistance checks start next week, trick-or-treat plans developing

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Like many cities across the country, Lexington is working on guidelines for Halloween trick-or-treating and gatherings, but they aren’t ready yet.

That was among several topics discussed Wednesday during an update for members of the Urban Council on the coronavirus and related issues in the city.

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Perhaps the biggest news is rent and housing assistance checks in the city’s new $1.9 million program could be going out next week, if not sooner.

Meanwhile, the city and health leaders are bracing for an increase in coronavirus cases after a “perfect storm” holiday weekend. And the health department still has written no citations to businesses for violating rules on gatherings and customers on restaurants, bars and other retailers.

“The checks have been cut and are out to the agencies we’re partnering with and they should have some money out by next week,” Sally Hamilton, the city’s chief administrative officer, said during the briefing.

Hamilton also ted the city has applied to the state for its final coronavirus reimbursement money. She expects the city to get the $15,628,924 “very soon…by the first of next week.”

The money will go into the city’s budget stabilization fund until the city gets a better handle on overall revenues later this fall.

As the city started September on a record pace for new coronavirus cases, Health Department spokesperson Kevin Hall said the weekend provided a “perfect storm” with a combination of picture-perfect weather, the Kentucky Derby and the long Labor Day weekend.

He said the Lexington Police Department was called to some Derby parties near the University of Kentucky campus for noise complaints but not violations of the mass gathering edict which prohibits crowds over 10 people. He also reminded Council members the health department doesn’t respond to complaints at private homes.

“We have not written a citation for a business in violation,” Hall added. “For the most part, places are trying to follow the guidelines.”

The health department is planning free flu vaccinations on Oct. 3, targeting high-risk populations. He said this year will be “the most important flu shot” people will get because of the cross over with the coronavirus. The flu vaccine may prevent people from getting the flu and ignoring signs that actually might be the coronavirus.

The city also is planning flue shot sessions for city workers Sept. 23-26.