COVID-19 Business Resources

Governor Walz Executor Orders

View all of the State Executive Orders.

Business Resources 

Workforce Assistance  

  • Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED): Unemployment Insurance Information for Employers:  On March 16, Governor Walz issued an executive order ensuring workers affected by COVID-19 have full access to unemployment benefits. The order also relieves taxpaying employers of benefit charges associated with COVID-19. This means a company’s unemployment tax rate will not increase if your workers collect unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. If your workers apply for unemployment benefits, DEED will let you know.  More information about Unemployment Insurance for employers. For employees not covered by unemployment insurance, both the State and Federal government are working on alternative assistance options.

  • DEED – Rapid Response: Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the Coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will discuss your needs with you, help avert layoffs if possible, and provide services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, visit DEED’s Rapid Response page or call 1-866-213-1422.

  • DEED – Shared Work – alternative to layoff: Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the Unemployment Insurance Shared Work Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs - retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with unemployment insurance benefits. Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Shared Work Program receive the percentage of their weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent. Visit Shared Work Program to learn more.

  • Anoka County Dislocated Worker Program – for permanent layoffs
    The Dislocated Worker program offers free services to help individuals find suitable employment and help take the stress and uncertainty out of the process. Workers may be eligible for this program if they are out of work through no fault of their own, are eligible for unemployment insurance, and are unlikely to return to your previous occupation or industry. 

Business Funding 

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) - Small Business Disaster Assistance Loan
    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This program is for small businesses and most non-profit organizations that have suffered directly by this disaster. Loans can be for up to $2 million and may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. Loans under $25,000 can be made without collateral, loans over $25,000 should be collateralized. However, the SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral. Find out more about Disaster Loan Assistance Program.  Small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. There is no cost to apply and no obligation to take the loan if approved. Please contact our Northeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consultants for assistance with the application process if needed.

  • SBA Loan Payment Deferrals: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed provides a 6-month debt forgiveness to the borrower for all 504, 7a, Community Advantage, Microloan borrows and Disaster Loans from the SBA. 

  • Federal Paycheck Protection Program: The purpose of the Paycheck Protection Program is to help employers with less than 500 employees retain employees, at their current base pay. Loans can be used for payroll expenses from Feb 15, 2020 - June 30, 2020. If employers keep all employees, the entirety of the loan will be forgiven. If an employer keeps a portion of employees, the loan forgiveness will be reduced by the percent decrease in the number of employees. The amount any small business is eligible to borrow is 250 percent of their average monthly payroll expenses, up to a total of $10 million. Updated 4-1-20. The terms of the loan not forgiven may differ on a case-by-case basis. However, the maximum terms of the loan feature a 10-year term with interest capped at 4 percent and a 100 percent loan guarantee by the SBA. You will not have to pay any fees on the loan, and collateral requirements and personal guarantees are waived. Loan payments will be deferred for at least six months and up to one year starting at the origination of the loan.

  • DEED Small Business Emergency Loan Program: DEED is offering emergency loans for small businesses that closed directly or indirectly from the Governor’s Executive Orders 20-04 & 20-08 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Qualifying businesses are eligible for loans from $2,500 to $35,000. Loans are zero interest, must be paid back monthly over five (5) years and the first payment will be deferred six (6) months with potentially partial forgiveness.

  • DEED Small Business Loan Guarantee Program: This loan program helps employers that may not have been eligible under the DEED Small Business Emergency Loan Program. DEED is not the lender, but it will work with lenders throughout the state to use the loan guarantees to support small business loans. These loan guarantees will facilitate loans for a variety of purposes and can be subordinate to other financing. Allowable loan uses must be exclusively in Minnesota and include machinery or equipment purchases, maintenance, or repair; expenses related to moving into or within Minnesota; and working capital when the working capital is secured by fixed assets when possible.

    The program will provide an 80% guarantee up to a maximum of $200,000, therefore the maximum loan amount in the loan guarantee program would be $250,000. The program is only employers with less than 250 employees are eligible.

  • Entrepreneur Fund (EF): Businesses with a current EF loan can sign up for a free consulting session as a starting point. Additionally, the Entrepreneur Fund has developed the Small Business Relief Fund to support businesses in our region hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. Funding will allow EF to provide financial grant assistance to business owners who are facing significant challenges but do not qualify for local, state or federal relief.

  • Bank Loans: A majority of banks or credit unions have established new loan programs or are offering relaxed repayment options on existing loans for both personal and business loans. Contact a local bank partner to see what assistance is available. The American Bankers Association has pulled together a list of banks that are offering special assistance at this time. This is updated daily.  


  • Anoka County Offering Business and Nonprofit Relief Program

    To support businesses impacted by COVID-19, Anoka County is offering a business and nonprofit relief grant program; grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded.

    UPDATE: Anoka County is extending the deadline to apply for its business and nonprofit relief grant program, and the county is expanding its criteria for awarding grants of up to $10,000. The original deadline to apply for the grant program, which is to support businesses impacted by COVID-19, was Aug. 24 to Sept. 3.  The application window has been extended for an additional 10 days, from Sept. 8 to 18. Learn all the details at

    To be considered for a grant, organizations must submit a complete application online. The link to the online application portal will be found at If there are more applications than funds available, organizations that were forced to operate at less than 50 percent capacity due to an executive order will be prioritized first.  The remaining applications will be chosen on a random basis.  Organizations must meet several criteria to be awarded a grant.  Some of those stipulations require business to be:

    • Locally owned and operated with a physical location in Anoka County.

    • Owned by a Minnesota resident.

    • In good standing with the Secretary of State and the Department of Revenue.

    • Able to demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19.

    • Employers of 50 or less workers.

    • Operating for at least 12 months prior to March 1, 2020.

    Corporate chains and multi-state chains are ineligible for this funding.  Nonprofits must be a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) veteran’s organization.

    The full list of requirements and frequently asked questions can be found here:  Organizations can visit the county’s economic development website for more information on the grant applications. 

    Email with any questions or for assistance with filling out the online application.  To get on the county’s notification list for COVID relief or economic development programs, email 

    “This grant money can be used in a variety of ways by businesses, including mortgage and utility payments, payroll and reopening costs,” said Scott Schulte, chair, Anoka County Board of Commissioners.  “Anoka County is committed to supporting businesses during this difficult and unprecedented time, and this grant program is another tool we’re using to help sustain our business community.”

  • Small Business Relief Grants Program 
    More than $60 million available in grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19. Applications accepted beginning June 23, 2020. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program.

    This program will provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law. The application period will begin on Tuesday, June 23 and close at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law.

    A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used to select eligible businesses that will receive awards. All awards will be administered by qualified local and regionally based nonprofit agencies, and the grant funds can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar business expenses.

    To be eligible, businesses must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota. Businesses must be able to demonstrate hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional eligibility requirements and application information can be found online at DEED’s Small Business Relief Grants page.

    DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more information about the agency and its services visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.

  • Federal Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants: A small business is eligible for grant funds after applying for an SBA Disaster Assistance Loan. These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.

    Additional to the Federal Economic Injury Grants, many corporations and non-profits have developed grant programs to assist companies affected by COVID-19. Contact Jacquel Hajder, Anoka County Economic Development Specialist, for a list of business grant options. Email Jacquel Hajder or call 612-358-8925.

Other Resources 

  • The James Beard Foundation, the national nonprofit culinary arts organization, has launched the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. The organization will draw support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to offer micro-grants to restaurants, bars, and other independent businesses in the industry. 
  • Facebook also created a Small Business Grants Program that will provide $100 million in cash and ad credits to 30,000 businesses in the 30 countries where Facebook operates. Until they open up for applications, you can sign up for updates and learn more about what can be covered by the grant.
  • Yelp announced $25 million in relief in the form of waived advertising fees, free advertising, and products and services. 
  • GoFundMe has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative, partnering with Yelp to provide small- business owners with grants and resources. GoFundMe and Yelp have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, and it is open for anyone to make a donation. There will also be $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500.    
  • Google is donating more than $800 million to support small businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers impacted by Covid-19. The amount includes $340 million in Google Ads credits for small and midsize businesses with active accounts in the past year. 
  • Verizon is donating $2.5 million to nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation for its Small Business Covid-19 Recovery Fund, which will use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to struggling businesses. Sign up for updates.