COVID-19 Business Resources
Washington County Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund
To provide emergency business assistance grants to small local businesses in Washington County adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington County Small Business Relief Fund will provide grants of up to $15,000 to employee-based small businesses and $7,500 for self-employed entrepreneurs. Employee-based businesses will be prioritized for funding and self-employed entrepreneurs and home-based businesses will be wait-listed pending fund availability.
Funds can only be used for Federal CARES Act eligible COVID-19 related or incurred public health emergency business operating expenses, including rent payments, commercial mortgage payments, payments to suppliers, payments to private utility companies or other critical non-payroll business expenses (including expenses related to reopening) as approved by MCCD and the CDA. If any other COVID-19 related business assistance grant funds were received from the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, local city or township grants and/or State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Washington County funds may NOT be used for the same expenses that were paid with other sources of funds.
If you have questions about the applications, please contact MCCD by email at email@example.com or by phone at 612-789-8838
The Washington County Board has approved a new round of small business grant applications for the Washington County CARES Act grant program funding. The application period will begin October 21 at 7:30 am and will close on November 4 at 4:30 pm. Access application here.
Washington County has consolidated the resources below to help ready and recover your business and workforce from the impacts of COVID-19. Please revisit this page often as new resources and programs become available.
Additional county resources can be found on https://www.co.washington.mn.us/3168/COVID-19.
If you have specific questions that cannot be addressed, or if there are specific industry challenges that Washington County Community Development Agency should be aware of, please email Chris Eng: ChrisE@washingtoncountycda.org
Washington County Small Business Relief Grant Program
Washington County is launching a $10 million program to provide grants to small businesses within the county to help them recover from the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. The fund will provide one-time grant awards of up to $15,000 are available to eligible applicants to assist with non-payroll expenses, including rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, payments to suppliers and other operational expenses that have occurred since March 1, 2020. Click here for the complete details.
Governor Walz announced a new State initiative that continues to foster social distancing called "Stay Safe Minnesota" replacing the expiring May 18 stay at home order. Stay Safe Minnesota asks people to stay close to home and limit nonessential travel and allows small gatherings of up to 10 people. The Governor stressed the need to continue to wear masks in public, social distance, and telework whenever possible.
The first thing to do as a business, is to have a plan in place. We have resources and some sample reopening plans on our website HERE. If you have questions around bringing employees back to work, here is an excellent resource for you. Safely Reopen Your Business.
Please find the new Executive Orders below.
- Safely Reopening Minnesota’s Economy and Ensuring Safe Non-Work Activities during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency (Last Modified: May 13, 2020)
- Protecting the Rights and Health of At-Risk Populations during the COVID19 Peacetime Emergency (Last Modified: May 13, 2020)
- Protecting Workers from Unsafe Working Conditions and Retaliation During the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency (Last Modified: May 13, 2020)
- Extending the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency Declared in Executive Order 20-01 (Last Modified: May I3)
Guidance on Reopening Businesses
Executive Order 20-48 allows workers in non-customer facing industrial and office settings to return to work. It further allows customer-facing retail businesses that sell goods to engage in curbside or outside pick-up and delivery.
All workers who can work from home must continue to do so. There are also a number of other conditions laid out in EO 20-48, including creating a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and not permitting customers to enter a business premises.
Plan in Place! Be Prepared
Plan in Place! Be prepared and start developing your required plan for what your new business model should look like as the state begins to open. From the MN Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Employee and Economic Development, here is a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan template and instructions in Word that you can download and use to begin your plan. Find it HERE. Most important, businesses are going to have to demonstrate what a safe work environment looks like for employees, and to build consumer and customer’s confidence.
- MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED): Guide to Safely Return to Work
- MN Chamber: Resources Also the MN Chamber has put together some best practices on reopening your business. This document was created from data from Minnesota businesses, the CDC and Osha. They are also looking at creating this by industry so we will keep you posted. See MN best practices HERE.
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.
Under this program:
- The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
- The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.
This pilot program allows SBA Express Lenders authority to deliver expedited SBA-guaranteed financing on an emergency basis.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
A Guide for Minnesota Small Businesses Who Need Help
Over the past few weeks, several state and federal programs have been built to assist small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to view the guide.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides robust funding streams, negotiated by House and Senate Democrats, to assist local governments and nonprofits in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to learn more.
State of MN Business Emergency Loans.
DEED will use their lender network to make loans between $2,500 and $35,000 for qualifying small businesses. The loans will be 50% forgivable, and offered at a 0% interest rate. If other financing becomes available to small businesses that received an emergency loan, such as federal funding, the emergency loan must be repaid. More information on terms, eligibility and application process here.
Small businesses in Minnesota are now eligible for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and can apply for a loan at SBA.gov/disaster.
- This program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private non-profits.
- These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills.
- The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The non-profit rate is 2.75%.
- These loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years.
- Need help filling out the application? Access these step-by-step instructions.
Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
Minnesota Dept. of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/businesses.html
MN Department of Employment & Economic Development: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/
Open to Business: http://www.eastmetromsp.org/business/open-to-business
Information and Resources for Employers: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/employers/
US Small Business Administration: https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19
Shared Work Program:
The Shared Work program offers an alternative to layoffs for employers facing a temporary downturn in business.