COVID-19 Business Resources

The following programs and resources are available to business and employees who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus.

Emergency Executive Orders

Stearns County Small Business Emergency Loan Program

Stearns County has established a loan program to assist small businesses located in Stearns County that have been adversely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Details and the application form are found on Stearns County website under Stearns County HRA. Highlights of the program include:

  • Interest free gap loans of $2,500 to $15,000 (working capital only) available based on economic injury and the financial need of the business.
  • Loans are to be paid back monthly over a period of two years. The first payment will be deferred for six months.
  • Loans will require sufficient collateral or a personal guarantee to cover the balance of the loan.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program 

The SBA is providing up to $2 million in Disaster Assistance loans for small businesses which can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to COVID-19 impacts. These low-interest loans can have a term up to 30-years, determined on a case-by-case basis. Businesses can apply by clicking here.

Small Business Emergency Loan Program

The MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEE) has established a loan program to assist small businesses directly and adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit MN DEED COVID-19 hub for businesses.

Minnesota DEED Rapid Response 

Employers who are planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can get help through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will discuss your business needs with you, help avert layoffs if possible, and provide services to assist workers facing job losses.

MN DEED Shared Work Program

Employers experiencing a slowdown in their business or service as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the Shared Work program. The program allows employers to seek alternatives to layoffs - retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Shared Work program receive the percentage of their weekly UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent. 

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program assists workers who cannot work, have their hours reduced or lose their job as a result of the pandemic. The UI program is prepared and ready to assist these workers. To find out more or to apply for benefits, visit the UI website. Have more questions about whether you qualify for Unemployment Insurance, how to apply and what the process is? Please visit the UI Need to Know page

Sales Tax Grace Period

Restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses impacted by the temporary closure order have a 30-day grace period in paying sales and use tax. During this time the Minnesota department of Revenue will not assess penalties or interest. This means that affected businesses with a monthly Sales and Use Tax payment due March 20, 2020 will have until April 20 to make that payment. These customers should still file their return by March 20. Find out more at the Minnesota Department of Revenue website.

Center for Disease Control Guidance

The Center for Disease Control has released interim guidance for businesses and employers as they plan, prepare and respond to coronavirus impacts. Find out more at the CDC website.