Business resources related to COVID-19
We know that the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting our members and that some of you are seeing a hit to your bottom line. We’re here to help you access the tools, information, and resources you need right now. Our growing list of local, state, and national business resources are here to make things less painful for your companies and organizations.
El Paso County to move to Level Red: Severe Risk status in the state’s dial framework by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
See Level Red: Severe Risk guidelines and restrictions here.
November 9, 2020: Executive Order D 2020 138 extended
All persons 10 years or older must wear a mask while entering or moving within a public indoor space in the state of Colorado until December 2020 (additional details here).
- Download the required signage to place at your business entrance.
- FAQ regarding the exec order
- Of important note in the FAQ document: Employees can remove their masks if they are alone in a room, such as an office with the door closed, but they must wear masks in any “shared, indoor space that accommodates people outside your household,” including physically distanced cubicles.
November 1, 2020
Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, and Xcel Energy, announced that applications are open for the Winter Outdoor Grant Program, which will provide funds to restaurants to winterize patio space for outdoor dining.
The Winter Outdoor Grant Program is made possible by a seed commitment from Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy, which made a $500,000 contribution to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season. In addition to this donation, they are also committing to matching donations of $50,000, up to an additional $250,000, for every $500,000 that’s raised for the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation. That’s a possible total contribution of $750,000 from the Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy. This is one of the single largest gifts the company has made in its history.
Grant funds can be used toward design, construction, applicable fees, and supplies like tents, heaters, etc. Grants will be distributed through the Colorado Restaurant Foundation. Learn more and apply here.
October 30, 2020: Pierce County moving to Safer at Home: Level 2
El Paso County will move to Safer at Home: Level 2 by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Learn more here. Please do your part to keep our business community safe, healthy, and open by:
- following current public health guidelines for businesses; encouraging employees to telecommute;
- evaluating sick leave policies to ensure policies do not incentivize employees to come to work when they do not feel well;
- normalizing masks in the workplace;
- and limiting personal gatherings to 10 people or less from two from no more than two households, per public health orders.
We can reduce our infection rates, but we must work together and we must act now.
October 23, 2020: Limits on personal gatherings
Personal gatherings are limited to 10 people or less from no more than two households. See additional details regarding the public health order amendment here.
August 5, 2020: Telecommuting toolkit
Clocking in from your Kitchen Table. We’ve curated the best resources to help you keep business operating as usual, no matter where you and your employees are working from. From updating HR policies to managing remotely, we’re here to make it easier for you to run central command from the home office.
Guidelines to reopening your business
- Show your customers that you’re following the guidelines and doing your part to keep them safe. Download our “We are staying safe” window signs in partnership with El Paso County Public Health.
View press release regarding El Paso County Public Health’s approved restaurant variance request here.
We want to hear your story and connect you to resources. Please fill out this form to allow us to best connect you to a team member that can listen and assist.
Resources for creative community
The State of Colorado has partnered with the legal community to create a volunteer program designed to connect attorneys with Colorado businesses in need to help them make informed decisions and get back on their feet.
From financial aid compliance to leasing arrangements and business liability, small businesses across our state face complex challenges. Most small businesses need legal resources and expertise to make informed decisions.
The task force will work with the 15 small business development centers (SBDC) around the state including the Pikes Peak SBDC. The task force is using recent survey data gathered by the SBDC’s to design need-based webinars and match volunteer lawyers to small businesses.
The Colorado Lawyers Committee is matching volunteer attorneys with small businesses in need of assistance. This organization is a nonpartisan consortium of 80 Colorado law firms dedicated to creating and increasing opportunities for children, the poor, and other disadvantaged communities through pro bono legal advocacy, negotiation, and litigation.
According to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, Colorado’s tourism industry, which supports many of the state’s small businesses, is expected to rebound more slowly than other sectors. By assisting small businesses, the task force hopes to indirectly support the more than 400,000 Coloradans who have filed for unemployment due to the pandemic.
Businesses interested in applying for assistance, or volunteers willing to help, can go to coloradocovidrelief.org.
Business reimbursement for Paid Leave tax credit for employee’s impacted by COVID-19
Eligible employers can now use Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19, to request an advance payment of tax credits. Employers must retain records supporting each employee’s leave to substantiate the claim for receiving payment of the advance credit (see How to Claim the Credits on the IRS website).
If you are an employer facing hard decisions right now, please consider the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Workshare Program as an alternative to layoffs. The program allows your employees to keep working, but with fewer hours. While an employee is working fewer hours, he or she may be eligible to collect part of his or her regular unemployment benefits. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center’s Rapid Response team can also assist you.
If you are an employee that has been recently laid off, you may be eligible to claim unemployment benefits through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. These bi-weekly benefit payments help you focus on your path to reemployment and help lessen the negative impact that unemployment has on the economy. Learn more and start your claim here. Find a full list of FAQs here. Find a layoff-to-employment planner here.
Mental health resources
- FEMA Crisis Counseling Program through Aspen Pointe
Safeguard your workplace
We all know to wipe down and clean our workspaces in an effort to keep employees and customers safe. Professional mitigation companies, like our following members, can help you with proactive bio-remediation:
- Belfor Property Restoration Info on their COVID-19 services here.
- Restoration 1 Colorado Springs Info on their COVID-19 services here.
- SERVPRO of North Central Colorado Springs Info on their COVID-19 services here.
- SERVPRO of South Colorado Springs
- United Water Restoration Group Info on their COVID-19 services here.
Additionally, the El Paso County Environmental Department has the following guidelines:
Apply for grant funding
- Energize CO Gap Fund will provide more than $25 million in small business loans and grants to boost small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Sole proprietors, businesses, and nonprofits with less than 25 full-time employees can apply for up to a $15,000 grant and a $20,000 loan for a possible combined total of $35,000 in financial assistance. The second round of applications for small business grant and loan program is now open. Applications for our second round are due by October 26, 2020. Learn more and apply here.
- small business or enterprise – Colorado sole proprietors and registered small businesses including LLCs, S-Corps, and other business types.
- nonprofit – Colorado nonprofits whose mission and/or programs directly support economic development, small businesses, or tourism. Any eligible Colorado small enterprise is welcome to apply. Priority will be given to the following applicants: majority-owned by black, indigenous, people of color, veterans, or women; in rural areas with a population of fewer than 50,000 people; in the tourism sector; with limited or no access to capital financing or other federal, state or local grants/loans.
- Energize Colorado recommends you have the following ready to go for your application: bank records, profit and loss statements, tax filings, and expense receipts.
- The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is accepting applications for the first grant cycle of the 2021 Advanced Industries Accelerator grant programs. Online applications will be accepted through 5 PM on September 1, 2020, on the OEDIT website.
- The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant helps small businesses expand internationally by funding international business development activities. The purpose of this grant is to offset the cost of conducting international business development for small businesses. The max amount a company can receive in a year is $10,000. Examples of global business development activities include:
- Attending trade shows
- Holding international business meetings
- Researching new markets
- Updating marketing materials for new markets
- Compliance testing
- The U.S. Small Business Administration funds part of this program, and the Global Business Development (GBD) department administers the grant to businesses.
Doing our part to keep our community safe…
Rest assured we are working behind the scenes to expand our educational, networking, and business support programs into virtual platforms. We continue to closely monitor the evolving pandemic and its impact on our signature and networking events. Under Governor Polis’s new guidelines for Safer At Home status, it clearly states that there be “no gathering over 10 people”. Until this changes, we will refrain from any and all physical gatherings of members for the purpose of networking or updating our members on our program of work. All events are currently being delivered in virtual or hybrid formats.