The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made $50.8 million in grants available to support small businesses, microenterprises, and their employees, families and communities. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will be administering these funds to businesses experiencing economic hardship and a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These funds were appropriated through the Commonwealth’s Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) as well as the CARES Act of 2020 and are divided into two programs.
Grant funding is intended to help businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic. Preference will be given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, who are focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, and those most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference will also be given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs related to COVID-19.
On June 1st, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order that provides a detailed list of businesses and activities that fall into Phases II, III, and IV of the Commonwealth’s Re-Opening Plan. The Order also permits all Phase II enterprises, including retail, to begin preparations to safely resume operation in advance of the start of the second phase. In addition to the retail sector, the Executive Order details further requirements for the safe resumption of amateur youth and adult sports and outdoor dining. Effective immediately, the Executive Order permits Phase II businesses to reopen their physical workplaces to workers only to conduct necessary preparations prior to the start of Phase II. Preparations include but are not limited to completing a COVID-19 Control Plan, implementing sector-specific protocols, and complying with Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards.
-For Reopening Phase II Executive Order:
-For Childcare Provider Reopening Order
VIEW UPDATED LIST OF ENTERPRISES IN PHASES II, III, and IV
Retailers: Retail stores will transition from curbside pickup and delivery-only to browsing and in-store transactions with restrictions at the start of Phase II.
Social distancing guidance requires each retail store to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to either 8 persons (including store staff) per 1,000 square feet of accessible, indoor space, or 40% of the retail store’s maximum permitted occupancy, whichever is greater.
Grocery stores and retail stores with pharmacy services must provide at least one hour of dedicated time for adults 60 years of age and older, while all stores are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for high-risk populations. For staffing, stores should adjust workplace hours and shifts, including leveraging staggered arrival / departure, to minimize contact across workers and to allow for on-going and off-hour sanitation and cleaning. Stores should also conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces.
Operators of enclosed shopping malls and other indoor, multi-tenant retail spaces must monitor customer and worker entries and exits to common areas and limit occupancy of common areas at all times to 40% of maximum permitted occupancy levels. Mall amenities like seating in food courts, children’s play areas, and arcades must remain closed, while mall food vendors and restaurants may only provide take-out or delivery service.
Once Phase II begins, these standards will apply to all retail businesses except for Farmers’ Markets, which shall continue to be governed by Department of Public Health guidance. These standards will supersede and replace existing Department of Public Health guidance governing grocery stores and pharmacies.
Retailers that have been defined as providing Essential Services pursuant to COVID-19 Order No. 13 will be required to comply with these sector-specific safety protocols within one week of the date that Retailers are authorized to open pursuant to the Governor’s Phase II Reopening Order. For full retail business guidance, click here.
Restaurants: Lastly, the Order permits restaurants to provide outdoor dining service with restrictions upon the start of Phase II; providing continued positive progression of public health data, indoor dining may be authorized by a subsequent order during Phase II. In order to provide improved opportunities for outdoor table service, the order also provides flexibility to a local licensing authority to grant approval for a change for any type of license that permits the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption. In both outdoor and indoor dining cases, restaurants will be required to comply with sector-specific COVID-19 workplace safety rules for restaurants. With State guidance released this week, all restaurants looking to serve food and alcohol outdoors, must apply to the local Town for approval. Below is the Town’s application for restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining. Restaurant operators, please complete the application below and return to the town administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will notify you of approval in an expedited manner. Outdoor dining and alcohol service application
The Town is anxiously awaiting federal dollars through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. We hope to and are planning on assisting our local businesses with these funds as soon as they become available. In anticipation of this, we ask that all our local businesses take part in this survey to help us determine needs and efficiently distribute funds. Additionally, the Town has applied to the Attorney General’s Office for a $50,000 grant to help local business affected by COVID-19. If received, these grant funds will be distributed in the same way as the CDBG funds. We are doing all we can to ensure Webster businesses get the assistance they need.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is offering a grant initiative starting 4/20/2020. Please follow the link for more information and the application https://savesmallbusiness.com/
Please see below for all of the SBA programs currently available. The Governor’s $10 million loan program to assist Massachusetts’ businesses has exceeded capacity and is no longer accepting applications.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will accept applications for the second round of funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from lenders beginning Monday, April 27th at 10:30 am. It is critically important that small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic work with their lender to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program as soon as possible.
Businesses can access the SBA’s Find A Lender tool at https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find. Additionally, using SBA data, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has published this list (https://www.mass.gov/doc/ppp-eligible-lenders-and-first-round-participants-sba-data) of institutions that provided loans to Massachusetts companies in the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program. The list also includes all entities that appeared on the SBA’s approved lenders list, which was last updated on April 13, 2020.
Any small businesses in need of application translation services or other technical assistance should access Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation’s online resources, including a list of technical assistance providers who can help businesses apply for PPP in languages other than English: https://empoweringsmallbusiness.org/resources/covid-19-small-business-resources
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Loans are up to $10M, with a 0.5% interest rate and a 2-year maturity; there are no payments for the first six months.
- Who can apply? Businesses, non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees.
- When can I apply? The Paycheck Protection Program will be available beginning on Friday, April 3rd. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020.
- How do I apply? You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit institution. Ask your local lender if it is participating in the program.
- What else should I know? The 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 program will be available retroactive from February 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.
- Read more here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp#section-header-4
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance is a Loan Advance of $10,000 that is available to applicants who have been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; it does not need to be repaid, so you can think of the Advance as a grant for business expenses.
- Who can apply? If you have applied or intend to apply to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, you can also apply for a Loan Advance.
- When can I apply? The Loan Advance is available now.
- How do I apply? Visit the SBA’s website to submit an application for the Economic Disaster Injury Loan and Loan Advance.
- What else should I know? Please note that you should submit an application at the above link, even if you’ve previously submitted an EIDL application prior to the Loan Advance being available.
- Read more here: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications#section-header-0
The SBA is also offering Debt Relief to small businesses. Under this relief, the SBA will pay the principal and interest for six months beginning March 27th, 2020 for qualifying new and current holders of 7(a) loans.
- Who can apply? Businesses who already have a covered 7(a) SBA loan or receive a 7(a) SBA loan prior to September 27, 2020.
- When can I apply? This relief is applied for covered loans beginning with payments due after March 27, 2020.
- How do I apply? Reach out to your SBA lender to discuss how this debt relief applies to your SBA loan.
- What else should I know? This debt relief is available only to 7(a) loans and not to loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program, 504 loans, or microloans.
- Read more here: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources#section-header-4
Don’t forget that you can still apply for two other Small Business Administration loan programs:
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available through the SBA website; apply here. EIDL loans can be up to $2M, with interest rates of 3.75%, and are for businesses whose revenues were adversely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Express Bridge Loan Program is available to businesses that have an existing business relationship with an SBA-approved lender; speak to your lender about accessing this option while you await a decision on long-term financing.
We will continue to make you aware of new programs and resources as they come to fruition. Also, we encourage you to subscribe for email updates via www.SBA.gov/Updates for the latest news on available SBA resources and services. If you need additional assistance, you can find your local SBA office and resource partners at www.SBA.gov/LocalAssistance. If you have questions, you may also call 1-800-659-2955.
Cash Flow Relief for Small Local Business: The Governor announced new measures for administrative tax relief for small local businesses impacted by COVID-19, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. For small businesses, defined as those who paid less than $150,000 in 2019 in sales and meals, or room occupancy taxes, we will be postponing the payment of their respective sales, meals, or room occupancy taxes.
1.Taxes due for March, April, and May will instead be due on June 20.
2.All penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
Businesses may contact Doug Willardson, Town Administrator (email@example.com or cell: 508-341-6558) or Kevin J. Kuros, Regional Director – Central Mass Massachusetts Office of Business Development to discuss assistance options for small businesses. Kevin’s contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 549-1803 cell.