CARES Act grants available for watermen in Chincoteague
CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. – Watermen in Chincoteague can now apply for CARES Act funding. Chincoteague watermen tell 47ABC opportunity comes at the perfect time – as they’ve been struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It hurts. It’s hurt the seafood industry big time,” said waterman Eddie Watson.
Mayor Arthur Leonard says the town has set aside $30,000 for up to six watermen. Those receiving the grants could possibly get $5,000 apiece. “What we’re doing is a very small step. I wish there was more that we could do. I know the federal government gave a lot of money. But that trickles down, so we are doing with what we have,” said Mayor Leonard.
Watson says the money would be a huge help. “I just spent $700 on nets, webbing and stuff – and then I still got to spend some more. Got to get some anchors and different things. Everything adds up,” said Watson.
Watson tells 47ABC that he’s happy to see the town stepping up to help local watermen – and he feels that they’ve been overlooked when it comes to financial aid. “You never see nothing about the working watermen. It’s all about the working farmer. Mr. Farmer produces a lot of food, but we do too,” said Watson.
Mayor Leonard says he agrees – and that for a place like Chincoteague where watermen are such an important part of the local economy and culture – it’s crucial to support them. “We all have a little history of being a waterman somewhere, and we always want to help them as much as you can. So this is our way of helping,” said Mayor Leonard.
To apply for the grant, watermen can visit the town building and fill out an application. The grants will be awarded on a first come first serve basis. The deadline for grant applications is July 29th at 10 a.m.