Dimple's owners Dimple and Denis Navratil twice applied for the city's emergency small business loans and grants for COVID-19 relief, but were denied because Denis participated in a rally in Madison on April 24 in opposition to the state's Safer at Home order, Racine Mayor Cory Mason said in statement emailed to The Journal Times. Dimple testified about the matter before Congress on Wednesday.
A longtime Racine business owner who was denied COVID relief funds from the city due to her husband’s participation in a protest of state coronavirus restrictions testified before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Wednesday afternoon.
The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship was to focus on the importance of immigrants to the United States economy, especially as they make up a significant portion of essential workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dimple Navratil, who co-owns Dimple’s Fine Imports in Downtown Racine with her husband, Denis Navratil, was born in India. She immigrated to the United States 28 year ago, and has been a citizen for more than 15 years.
She has operated the business for 27 years, 21 of those in Downtown Racine. Navratil testified about the impact that COVID-19 had on her business and the City of Racine’s denial of a Small Business Emergency Assistance Fund grant to her business.
In the spring, the City of Racine awarded $900,000 in grants to small businesses affected by the novel coronavirus. In round one, 18 local businesses received grants up to $15,000 each and in round two 146 businesses received grants ranging from $2,500 to $6,500
Mayor Cory Mason previously admitted that the denial to Dimple’s was at least partially based on Denis Navratil’s lack of compliance with state coronavirus restrictions.
“We were very upset and sad,” Dimple Navratil said of the city’s denial of the grant and the reasons for it. “We considered leaving the city. We considered selling the building and moving out.”
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