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Small Business Resources in the Durango Area

Durango Area Small Business Resources

Durango thrives on being a small-business oriented town-- and we’re all proud to be one! Small businesses are the backbone of a thriving economy and Durango has a habit of banning together as a community whenever possible and when we see someone in need of help. With the COVID 19 outbreak across the country, it is hard to recognize what step to take next. These steps are necessary to consider not only during the pandemic, but also after we kick this thing and our summer tourism season officially starts. So, what then? What do we do after the storm blows through? What are the necessary “clean up” actions to take in order to get all of our awesome local businesses thriving again? 360Durango is here to help in any way that we can. Keep referencing this article for daily updates and tips on how to keep your business thriving. 

May 1, 2020

San Juan Basin Public Health Launches Business Self-Certification Tool for Businesses in La Plata County 

Durango, Colo.: Today, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) launched a self-certification tool for businesses and worksites planning to re-open in La Plata County, as well as those already open, to demonstrate their compliance with the requirements issued in Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE)  Public Health Order 20-28.  CDPHE’s order provides public health guidance for Governor Polis’s ‘Safer at Home’ Executive Order. SJBPH is hopeful that taking these precautions now will improve the odds of keeping businesses open in the long run, by reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Self-certification is a requirement of SJBPH’s public health order ‘Safer La Plata’ to ensure that businesses and worksites reopening or already open in La Plata County are implementing required precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All businesses in the county are required to self-certify, including those already open.

SJBPH asks that local businesses and worksites complete steps in order below to meet self-certification requirements:

  • Review the guidance document issued by the state that provides requirements for specific business categories found here: https://tinyurl.com/ybl945ht
  • Implement requirements according to state guidelines
  • Complete SJBPH’s self-certification form before May 8th if planning to open on that date, or before opening at a later date: https://forms.laplata.co.us/Forms/BusinessCert

Taking Archuleta County businesses and worksites are welcome to utilize SJBPH’s self-certification tool as a way to demonstrate to their employees and customers their commitment to providing safe and healthy workplaces.

SJBPH thanks La Plata County for their help in the development of this tool and their continued partnership in the emergency response to COVID-19.

SJBPH appreciates the efforts of local businesses and worksites to ensure a safe re-opening for the protection of both employees and customers in La Plata County, and to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases locally as re-opening occurs.

For the most up to date information on how to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, visit SJBPH’s website at: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.

San Juan Basin Public Health is a local public health agency, governed by a seven-member local Board of Health, serving all residents of La Plata and Archuleta counties. For over 70 years, San Juan Basin Public Health has improved the health and environment of the Southwest Colorado community.

April 27, 2020

Gov. Polis Issues Executive Order on Safer at Home 

Executive Orders also issued on New Normal Advisory Board and Elective Procedures 

DENVER - Gov. Polis today issued Executive Orders on Safer at Home, the New Normal Advisory Board, and Voluntary or Elective Surgeries and Procedures. 

“Together, Coloradans have been effective in leveling and flattening the curve, but life will remain much more dangerous than usual these next few months and we should all wear masks when in public. Safer at Home is by no means a free-for-all. My administration has acted boldly in the face of this pandemic and is focused on ensuring our state can endure on the trail ahead. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and must find a way of living that is psychologically and economically sustainable for Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis.

The Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044 outlines a new level in Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a more sustainable way of living for Coloradans while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more Coloradans to return to work. The Executive Order is tentatively set to expire 30 days from April 27, 2020, but can be amended or extended at any time. 

Coloradans should continue staying home as much as possible, and the Executive Order directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home, only leaving when absolutely necessary. 

Changes happening during Safer at Home will be phased in, with different changes going into effect April 27, May 1, and May 4. 

Monday, April 27

Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery. Real estate home showings can resume. Voluntary or elective medical, dental, and veterinary surgeries and procedures may resume if facilities are following required safety protocols.  

Friday, May 1

Retail businesses can phase-in a public opening if they are implementing best practices. 

Personal services can open if they are implementing best practices.

Monday, May 4

Offices can reopen at 50% reduced in-person staffing capacity, if best practices are being implemented to protect the health and safety of employees. Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting at higher levels if possible. Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements. 

Colorado is a diverse state and the Governor knows each community will have different needs. The Safer at Home order outlines the options local governments will have when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities.  

  • Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer at Home to match the State. 
  • Local governments can go further than the State, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures. 
  • Local governments can relax guidelines more than the State. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction, and elected leadership. 

Read the Safer at Home Executive Order here

The Governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 045, which will allow medical, dental, and veterinary voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to resume as long as the health care facility or other setting is following the required safety protocols as set out in the Executive Order. This goes into effect Monday, April 27, 2020. Under this Executive Order, facilities performing these procedures must establish a plan to reduce or stop voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures if there is a surge of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which they are located. CDPHE will determine the conditions that constitute a surge. Read the Executive Order here.

Earlier this week, Gov. Polis announced the New Normal Advisory Board. The Board will advise the Governor and CDPHE on coordinating and harmonizing policies and rules designed to maximize social distancing during the Safer at Home phase. The Board shall focus particularly on how local jurisdictions and local public health agencies can coordinate with the State on public education efforts that aim to maximize compliance and enforcement efforts for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Executive Order B 2020 002 here

Gov. Polis will hold a news conference tomorrow on the State’s response to COVID-19. 

 

San Juan Basin Public Health Highlights the Introduction of Curbside Retail on Monday, April 27th, 2020

Durango, Colo.: The last day of Colorado’s ‘Stay At Home’ Order is Sunday, April 26. The Governor has announced a plan to transition to a ‘Safer At Home’ period for Colorado beginning on Monday, April 27. San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) may need to issue additional Public Health Orders depending on details of the Governor’s plan that have not yet been released. These orders may be necessary because large decreases in social distancing will accelerate transmission of COVID-19. Even after the state’s ‘Stay At Home’ Order expires, all Coloradans should remain at home except when absolutely necessary and should avoid unnecessary in-person social interactions.

Starting April 27, non-essential retail businesses will be allowed to utilize curbside pickup and home delivery that minimizes touch and does not let patrons inside stores. Also on April 27, SJBPH anticipates receiving requirements and opening dates from the State of Colorado for other types of businesses. SJBPH will review the state’s requirements and determine whether they adequately and consistently protect the health of all of us throughout our communities. This review is necessary because different business settings create different risks of disease transmission. If necessary after review of state requirements, SJBPH may issue a local public health order that delays the transition from ‘Stay At Home’ to ‘Safer At Home’ in order to allow all businesses enough time to comply with health and safety requirements.


In order to utilize curbside pickup on April 27th, non-essential retail businesses must comply with ALL of the safety requirements below:

  • Employees and customers maintaining 6-foot distancing at all times
  • Employers providing employees with gloves and face coverings for use during customer
    interactions, including delivery and returns, and whenever possible during other work activities
  • Employees taking frequent breaks to wash their hands
  • Employees staying home when showing any symptoms or signs of sickness
  • Employers conducting daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in their employees, logging all results
  • Employers increasing the frequency of their cleaning practices, including frequent sanitization of high touch areas


In addition, real estate professionals may conduct showings (but not open houses) beginning on April 27th. Showings must comply with social distancing requirements, including 6-foot spacing between participants


Non-essential retail businesses that cannot comply with the above requirements may not begin utilizing curbside pickup or home delivery on April 27th and must wait until they meet the requirements before opening. Non-essential retail businesses that open for in-store shopping or services or utilize curbside pickup or home delivery without complying with the above safety requirements, are subject to enforcement.


Personal service businesses, including salons, spas, personal trainers, pet groomers and gymnasiums, are not permitted to open on April 27th. Any of these businesses that open on April 27th will be breaking the law and will be subject to enforcement. SJBPH continues to await safety requirements and opening dates for these businesses from the State of Colorado.
SJBPH will provide more information following receipt and review of additional Safer At Home orders and guidance from the State of Colorado.


For the most up to date information on how to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, visit SJBPH’s website at: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/

San Juan Basin Public Health is a local public health agency, governed by a seven-member local Board of Health, serving all residents of La Plata and Archuleta counties. For over 70 years, San Juan Basin Public Health has improved the health and environment of the Southwest Colorado community.

April 23, 2020

State releases public health order requiring critical business employees to wear masks  

DENVER (April 23, 2020): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released a new public health order ordering workers in critical businesses and critical government functions to wear non-medical masks and gloves while at work to protect the health and welfare of the public.

Public Health Order 20 26 requires that workers in these businesses who have close contact (within six feet) with other employees or the public wear cloth masks while working. It also orders these workers to wear gloves if they are in close contact with customers. The public health order encourages employers to provide masks and gloves for their employees. 

The critical businesses impacted by this public health order include banks, child care facilities, pharmacies, and grocery stores. They are defined in Public Health Order 20 24 and listed on the COVID-19 website at covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs

The main reason to wear a non-medical mask is to protect others. Data show that some people may spread COVID-19 when they do not have symptoms. People may spread the disease when speaking, coughing or sneezing -- especially in situations where a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained.

Colorado is asking everyone to wear a non-medical cloth face covering while out in public. You can make or buy a covering that will cover your mouth and nose and use it whenever you are outside your house and yard.

This public health order will remain in place until May 17 unless it’s extended, amended, or rescinded.

*Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

April 22, 2020

Pre-guidance for Businesses on "Safer from Home" 

  • SJBPH is waiting on the detailed guidance to go along with the governor’s ‘Safer at
    Home’ plan and cannot currently provide information on what restrictions might be
    lifted or on how specific businesses will be affected. Guidance on ‘safer at home’ is
    expected before 4/27/20.
  •  Businesses cannot reopen prior to upcoming guidance and the lifting of the ‘stay at
    home’ order on 4/27/20.
  •  Good public health practice is still imperative and the ‘Safer at Home’ framework
    assumes compliance from businesses, public health interventions from LPHAs, and
    cooperation of local governments on messaging and enforcement.
    •  The face covering order issued on 4/17/20 remains in place and is a key strategy
      in reducing the spread of covid-19. SJBPH urges businesses to comply with this
      order.
    •  ‘Stay at home’ is still stringently urged by both the governor and public health.
    •  Other precautions such as social distancing of 6 feet and frequent and thorough
      hand washing are still critical in helping reduce spread of covid-19.
    •  Workplace best practice policies should include sick leave and symptom
      checking.
    •  Employees should continue to work from home if they are able.
  • SJBPH has the ability to issue a local Stay-at-Home order to extend the current
    restrictions if deemed necessary. Different jurisdictions are at different places in the
    “curve” of the disease and may need restrictions to lift at different times.
  • If case counts and hospitalizations rise after restrictions are eased, restrictions will be
    reinstated and may include business closures and other restrictions on interactions. The
    success of how well individuals and businesses comply with continued social distancing
    and staying at home strategies will determine whether or not this will be needed. 

Gov. Polis Provides Update on Coloradans on State Response to COVID-19 

DENVER - Governor Jared Polis today provided an update on how the state is responding to COVID-19 and provided further clarification on what the Safer-at-Home phase of the pandemic will look like for Coloradans. 

“I want to reiterate, the Safer-at-Home phase is not going back to life as normal. It’s not a major adjustment from where we have been,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Safer-at-Home means most Coloradans should continue to limit social interactions to the greatest extent possible to just individuals in your household and wear facial masks when you are out. I’m proud of how Colorado has come together during this difficult period to stay home as much as possible, protecting ourselves and our neighbors. But we still have work to do - we are not through the woods yet.”

The goal of the Safer-at-Home phase is to maintain 60-65% physical distancing. This means:

  • Vulnerable populations and older adults must stay home unless absolutely necessary. 
  • No group gatherings of more than 10 people. 
  • Critical businesses will remain open with strict precautions (social distancing, masks for all employees, more frequent cleanings, etc.) 
  • Retail businesses may open for curbside delivery and phased-in public opening with strict precautions.
  • Nightclubs, gyms and spas will remain closed.  
  • Elective medical and dental procedures begin, with strict precautions to ensure adequate personal protective equipment and the ability to meet critical care needs. 
  • Personal services (salons, tattoo parlors, dog grooming, personal training, etc.) will open with strict precautions. 
  • K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction for the 2019-2020 school year.  
  • Telecommuting continues for offices. Starting on May 4, up to 50% of staff can work in person (with social distancing in place).
  • The state is not changing requirements for nursing homes and other senior care facilities. There will continue to be restrictions on visiting residents.

 

The Safer-at-Home phase is not:

  • A free-for-all
  • An opportunity to leave the house as much as possible and spread the virus to others 
  • An excuse to not wear a facial covering, or begin giving hugs or handshakes 
  • Going to the mountains to spend the weekend  
  • Conducting unnecessary travel
  • Having parties or get togethers
  • Playing in pick upsports games  

In the coming days, further guidance will be provided to a variety of affected industries including retail, offices, elective medical and dental services, child care, education, personal services, and real estate. 

The Governor also provided guidance and best practices for non-critical workplaces, including their employees and customers. Non-critical workplaces should be operating at no more than 50% in-person capacity and should allow employees to telework whenever possible. For more details on best practices, view the Governor’s presentation

Under the Safer-at-Home phase, local governments will have a variety of options when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities. 

  • Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer-at-Home to match the state.
  • Local governments can go farther than the state, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.
  • Local governments can relax guidelines more than the state. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction and elected leadership. 

Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 041 today extending the suspension of normal in-person instruction at all public and private elementary and secondary schools in the State until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. This order does not affect plans for the 2020-2021 school year. 

To learn more about the Safer-at-Home phase of the pandemic and a tentative timeline, view the Governor’s presentation here and a one-pager here. To view the Governor’s news conference, click here

April 17, 2020

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 

What is PUA?
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program established by the CARES Act that temporarily expands unemployment insurance eligibility to self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Colorado’s film and creative communities have experienced reduced hours, wages or lost work altogether as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to these unique circumstances, some of the requirements for filing and receiving unemployment have changed and benefits traditionally unavailable for gig and self-employed workers are now accessible.


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Overview
The PUA program is made up of three elements:
1. Benefits for individuals traditionally not eligible for unemployment benefits
2. Individuals who have exhausted traditional unemployment benefits
3. Individuals who cannot telework and are unable to work due to shelter-in-place measures


Available Funding Overview
1. Funding is available retroactively dating back to the first week of February through the end of 2020
2. An additional $600 per week is available for claims dating between March 29th and July 31st regardless of the
amount of your underlying benefit
3. Traditional unemployment covers 27 weeks of benefits
4. The PUA program tacks on an additional 12 weeks of benefits (39 weeks total).

Who is eligible to apply?
To qualify for benefits you must:
• Be unemployed or have lost paid working hours through
no fault of your own
• Be able, available and actively seeking work
• Have earned $2,500 during your base period
To apply, you must demonstrate that you are experiencing a
partial income loss and/or that you are working less than full
time (32 hours per week). For more information on who is
eligible to apply, visit this website.

When will I be able to apply?
PUA is a federally run program orchestrated by the states. Colorado is currently working
off of guidelines received in early April and expects the program to be up and running in mid-April. Announcements will be made via press release and on the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) website.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

How long after I file will I start receiving my money?
Once the program is up and running, you will start receiving PUA withing 7-14 days. Subsequently, you will need to file on a weekly basis and will receive funds via direct deposit a few days after each weekly filing date.


How much money should I expect to receive?
Unemployment benefits are calculated based on income from the previous 12-month period (base period). You will also automatically receive a flat $600 each week on top of this amount between March 27th and July 31st. You do not need to specifically apply for the additional $600 per week.


What if I lost a lot but not all of my income?
Applicants with partial income loss are eligible. If you are working fewer than 32 hours a week and earning less than the weekly amount that unemployment benefits pay (approximately 55 percent of your average wage over a 12-month time period), you may receive unemployment benefits. You will verify that you are only receiving part of your income through attestation when applying.


Will these additional funds affect my Medicaid eligibility and eligibility for other benefits programs?
If by participating in PUA your income now exceeds the income threshold to qualify for other benefits programs, it may. Contact your benefits administrator for further information.


I already applied for unemployment benefits. Do I need to reapply for PUA?
No. If you have an active application in the system it will automatically be directed to PUA if you are eligible for those benefits. The only time you would need to reapply is if you have already received communication from the UI Division that your claims has been deemed ineligible.

If I only included W2 information when I initially applied, how do I add 1099 information once PUA opens for 1099 workers?
Let your initial claim run its course - you do not need to reapply. If you are denied regular benefits, then apply for PUA and present all of your sources of income.


How do I determine whether I should apply for PUA or the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?
Sole proprietors are not able to “double-dip” or receive funds from both the PUA and the PPP. Instead, it is suggested that you use this calculator to determine which program is most beneficial for your situation. Use this “estimator” to calculate your unemployment benefits and be sure to add a flat $600 to each week of unemployment between March 27th and July 31st. This document will help you to determine and compare what you are qualified to receive as part of the PPP program.


What supporting documentation will I need to document losses?
1. Tax documents from 2018 and what you have prepared for 2019 to verify income (such as 1099s)
2. Paystubs from the past 12 months
3. Attest when losses started
*Any emails or other documentation stating lost or canceled work is good to have on hand, though you will not need to upload this during the initial application.


Can I claim for previous weeks in which I was unemployed?
Yes, you will be paid retroactively for income lost due to COVID-19. The base pay will date back to the first week of February and is available through the end of 2020. The additional $600 per week will be dated back to March 29 and will be available through the end of July 2020.

 

Are unemployment funds taxable?
Yes, these funds will be pre-taxed as income.


What about the ‘able and available’ and ‘actively seeking work’ requirements?
1. Able and available to work takes on new meaning during a pandemic. CDLE has relaxed constraints on this as
applicants may not physically be able to travel due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders.
2. While some industries are hiring, the current labor demand is not equal to the supply due to COVID-19. This
requirement is relaxed during these unique times, however, applicants are still required to register for the state job
bank.


Once I apply for PUA, will I continue to receive a check each week?
Applicants will be required to file every week and state that they are not able to generate income, though available they are still under a shelter-in-place order, and they have registered for the state job bank.


What if I am both a W2 and 1099 worker?
When you file, be prepared to document all income including both W2 and 1099 work.


Are furloughed workers eligible for benefits?
Yes.
What about seasonal workers?


Yes, when you apply the system will calculate your benefit based on the past 12 months of income.

I just received a grant, does this affect my unemployment status?
The system will take into account any generated income, so if the grant goes towards income then yes, it will be factored
into your unemployment benefit for that week.


What about my tips and commissions? Should these be included in my application?
Yes, all forms of compensation or revenue should be included.


Can I apply for future losses?
No, PUA is a retroactive system meaning that you can only apply for funds previously lost. You must file weekly to document loss of funds and you can apply for the previous week’s losses starting on Sunday.


I applied through the website but I have yet to receive my PIN.
The system is currently set up to automatically distribute PINs through the USPS, however, CDLE is shifting to electronic delivery. To ensure that you receive your PIN electronically (faster), include your email address as part of your application and opt-in for electronic communication.


Additionally, CDLE has added a button to “request a new PIN” on their website (click and scroll down). If you have yet to receive your PIN you are encouraged to utilize this function.

I filed online, how do I know if my application was submitted?
If you receive a confirmation that your application was successfully submitted, you are good to go. If you did not receive this confirmation, submit again.

I recently graduated and had only been working for a few months before COVID-19. I am currently unemployed,can I apply?
Yes, you are most likely eligible for the lowest benefit amount plus the $600 flat rate. You are encouraged to apply even with a limited work history.

What if my application is denied?
There is an appeals process for any benefits awarded or denied.

Will funds for this program run out?
No, the system is backed and guaranteed. There are date limits so the program in which you are enrolled may simply end, but there will not be a limit to the number of people who can apply for PUA.

I still have questions, where should I go?
CDLE is working on increasing the capacity of its call center. You can call them at 303.813.2800 or 888.550.2800 (for those outside the Denver-metro area) however, you will most likely find it challenging to get through at the current time.


CDLE encourages you to visit their website, which will have answers to general questions.
Additionally, CDLE suggests reaching out to your local workforce center. You can find your local workforce center here.


These organizations are great resources and offer many virtual services.

April 16, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans 

As you may be aware, applications for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans and the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans were suspended today due to existing funding appropriation limits. Both the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury are urging Congress to appropriate additional funds into these federal economic programs so that eligible small businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors have the chance to participate and access the funds they need.

Current statistics show that the SBA PPP Loan has provided $6 billion in funding to our Colorado small businesses and we are hopeful that this number will continue to grow in the future.

The SBA Express Bridge Loan and SBA Debt Relief programs are still providing funds/relief. We encourage you to review our growing list of Alternative Sources of Funding and reach out to your local communities.



Paycheck Protection Program
SBA announced the initial $349B PPP fund allocation has been exhausted.

We encourage eligible Colorado businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors to gather payroll documents and continue preparing your application while Congress deliberates the appropriation of additional funding.

If you have already submitted your PPP application, your lender can update you about the status of your application.


Economic Injury Disaster Loans
SBA announced it is unable to accept new EIDL applications based on available appropriations funding.

EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. SBA cannot guarantee that applications submitted thus far will receive funding.

Additional EIDL funding is contingent upon additional Congressional appropriation.

April 10, 2020

COVID-19 Business Updates: Alternative Sources of Funding

Today, lenders started accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program(PPP) for independent contractors and the self-employed.
Many banks are struggling to handle the number of requests and are prioritizing existing customers. We urge you to reach out to your banks as soon as possible so you can submit your application quickly.
We recommend that you first reach out to the bank that pays out your business’s payroll. Check your existing bank's website to see if they have the application available. If it is not obvious, call or email them to see if they are an approved lender for the Paycheck Protection Program.
If your bank is not authorized, you can find an eligible lender here.
Need Help?
If you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our COVID-19 hotline. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Phone: (303) 860-5881
This Google sheet helps Colorado’s small businesses find alternative funding sources beyond EIDL, PPP, and other federal loans and programs.
Please note that this Google sheet is 'live', so you may see changes as we make real-time updates.
If you come across any resources that are no longer active, please email us at oedit_sbnavigator@state.co.us.
The Colorado SBDC Network is regularly hosting webinars to guide you through the COVID-19 emergency response and preparedness.
Watch recordings from past webinars that covered the following topics:
  • EIDL Application Instructions
  • EIDL Application Instructions for Nonprofits
  • Guide to Applying for PPP Loan
  • Keeping Your Business Together in a Crisis: Financial Health
  • And more
Thank you for signing up for COVID-19 email updates from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. We expect to email you whenever we have news to share, which could be daily or weekly depending on the situation.
Please be sure to visit OEDIT's COVID-19 Business Resource Center, as that webpage has the most recent news and resources.

April 6, 2020

Multi-Industry Construction Guidance 

Introduction

Due to the unique issues related to supply chain, financing, contract deadlines, and public need, construction may continue under Governor Polis’ stay-at-home order as long as Social Distancing Requirements are followed on construction worksites. This is intended to allow for continuity of operations on critical infrastructure such as roads, rails, airports, housing (especially low-income housing), energy infrastructure and water infrastructure. However, as is reinforced by this guidance, construction projects and companies in their supply chain are Not Exempt from social distancing requirements, even if compliance means added cost. Hygiene protocols are strictly required. Moreover, people who are sick or at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 must not travel to work, even if they work for a Critical Business. The state also urges any small scale construction projects (e.g. home renovations) to be reasonably deferred without penalty. For large scale and public investment, projects should be evaluated on a case by case basis, in light of the guidance below, related to the stay-at-home order.

Social distancing on construction worksites

Critical functions including construction work MUST comply with social distancing requirements. The following practices are important for applying social distancing to a construction worksite setting:

  •  Reduce size of work crews: Teams should reduce the number of people in each work crew to the minimum number of people possible to perform the task safely, even if the reduction of crew size means the job takes longer.

  •  Minimize interaction between work teams: Even groups within the same project should avoid interaction across groups, to minimize possible viral spread if one worker contracts COVID-19. Approaches to avoiding contact between groups may include staggered shifts, compressed work weeks where different teams work different days, and maximizing geographic distance between different teams working on the same project.

  •  Avoid contact with visitors: Visitors outside the typical work crew should avoid interaction with the team wherever possible. For example, if an inspector or materials delivery needs to enter the site, they should alert the work team (e.g. by honking the horn of their vehicle twice or through another established communication means) so that the work team can vacate the site while the external parties are present.

  •  Maintain a 6 foot distance between employees wherever possible: Construction teams should make every effort to limit activities that cannot be performed within 6 feet of distance between workers. However, some core construction activities may require some proximity to complete (e.g., concrete pours, utility potholing, work in cranes, drainage pipe construction, among others). In these cases, construction crews must employ other aggressive measures to limit contact. Examples include requiring employees to face away from each other, the use of supplemental Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like face shields or respirators, minimizing the number of people on a team, and retaining consistency within work teams to limit contact with parties external to that team.

  •  Office work should be done remotely, whenever possible: Office functions associated with a project (e.g. accounting or records) should be done from home to the maximum extent practicable.

  •  In-person meetings should be avoided: Office meetings and consultations should take place virtually, with participants working from home or their work truck, whenever possible. If an in-person meeting is absolutely necessary, that must be limited to fewer than ten people, and participants must maintain 6 foot distance at all times during the meetings. All surfaces should be wiped down before and after the meeting, and hand washing should also occur before and after the meeting.

  •  Workers must not congregate during breaks: Construction workers should not congregate for lunch or other breaks.

  •  Activity specific work plans: Contractors should consider all job activities and review how they can be accomplished using necessary social distancing and sanitation protocols.

    Hygiene protocols

    Strict hygiene protocols must be utilized with all equipment and surface areas that are commonly touched. Operators of light and heavy duty equipment, specifically, must:

  •  Clean commonly touched surfaces before and after operation: Cleaning: refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Cleaning is typically performed using soap, detergents, cleansers and clean water before using a disinfecting method. Commonly touched surfaces, include but are not limited to: door handles and grab bars, instrument panels, steering wheels, devices such as cell phones;

  •  Follow cleaning activities with an approved disinfectant: refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting is typically performed using approved commercial or household disinfecting solutions. For a list of CDC-approved disinfectants against viruses (including COVID-19 virus), see: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

  •  Use of personal protective equipment for hygiene and safety: employees should wear all standard worksite personal protective equipment (PPE), especially eye protection and gloves, as well as other standard safety equipment (e.g. reflective vests or jackets). Face masks should be limited to specific activities for which they are typically needed, because of a national supply shortage. PPE may not be shared between members of a work team.

Monitoring employee health and avoiding travel for high risk personnel

  •  It is critical that individuals DO NOT report to work while they are experiencing illness symptoms including any of the following symptoms:such as; fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, nausea, chills, or fatigue. If an employee does experience any of these symptoms, they will notify their foreman or supervisor immediately so that appropriate follow-up actions can be taken. A screening tool for employees can be found here.

  •  People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are urged to stay in their Residence at all times except as necessary to seek medical care. People who are sick must stay in their Residence except as necessary to seek medical care and must not go to work, even at a Critical Business.

  •  Any worker displaying possible COVID symptoms may not participate in construction work.

  •  Employees should monitor their health at the beginning of each work day and are strongly encouraged to check their temperature at the start of the work day (although some COVID-19 cases do not experience a fever).

  •  Individuals should also seek medical attention if they develop these symptoms by first calling their primary care provider or urgent care center.

  •  A sick employee must not return to work until they have been asymptomatic for 72 hours. If an employee is diagnosed as positive for COVID-19, they should not return to work until a medical professional has provided written notice that it is safe to do so.

    Focus on critical activities

  •  Focus on activities that are truly critical: Not all construction activities are of equal urgency. When considering whether a project is critical, please consider factors such as:

    •  Whether the project is under construction already and thus requires active traffic management (in the case of a transportation project) or other work zone safety measures that benefit from ongoing activity;

    •  Whether deferral of a start date on a project would undermine public safety or continuity of operations for critical infrastructure;

    •  Whether the project can feasibly be done with social distancing measures as detailed above.

  •  Encouraging deferral of non-essential work: All project sponsors, public and private, are encouraged to provide flexibility to construction contractors to enable them to delay work during the period of the Governor’s stay at home order. For small projects, especially residential projects such as home renovations, businesses and homeowners are strongly encouraged to provide construction contractors with flexibility to defer work until after the stay at home order is lifted.

  •  Safe shutdown of work:When a project or project phase must be shut down due to the pandemic, care should be taken that the project site is left in a safe condition. Traffic control devices must continue to be inspected and maintained, so it is a best practice to minimize their need and use when a project is temporarily inactive.

April 1, 2020

Resources from the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade

COVID-19’s impact on Colorado has been widespread and its effects on our business community have been particularly profound. There’s a lot of information coming out and that information is changing almost daily. We get it and we’re here to help.

Starting this Friday, April 3, access the latest information and resources directly from the top, in one 60-minute call, on a consistent weekly basis.

Get real-time updates from local, state and federal agencies and hear from experts on topics such as funding, policy and business solutions.

Calls are organized by region so businesses and advocates can get the latest information relevant to them and their area of operation.

There are three convenient ways to engage:
1) Join us on Zoom
Please download the Zoom app on your computer, tablet, or phone. Zoom works on all devices, including Apple, Android and PC. If you choose the audio-only option, there is no need to download the Zoom app. See link for your region below.

Northeast: Fridays, 3pm
Call Host: Lisa Hudson, Director, Northeast SBDC
Zoom Video & Audio
Dial-in: 346-248-7799 / Participant ID: 914379684

Southeast: Fridays, 2pm
Host: John Wittler, Regional Coordinator, Ogallala Commons
Zoom Video & Audio
Dial-in: 346-248-7799 / Participant ID: 367293321

Northwest: Fridays, 1pm
Host: Erin McCuskey, Director, Northwest SBDC
Zoom Video & Audio
Dial-in: 346-248-7799 / Participant ID: 863837735

Southwest: Fridays, 12pm
Host: Bonnie Watson, Transaction Advisor, Telluride Foundation
Zoom Registration

2) Watch live on YouTube
We will be recording live on YouTube through the Choose Colorado YouTube Channel if you would like to listen in.
3) Access recordings later
All regional webinars will be recorded and stored on the Choose Colorado YouTube Channel.

*These webinars are sponsored by Startup Colorado, State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Northeast SBDC, Northwest SBDC, Ogallala Commons, GROW Seco, and the Telluride Foundation.

Please be sure to visit OEDIT's COVID-19 Business Resource Center, as that webpage has the most recent news and resources.

March 31, 2020

Gov. Polis: COVID-19 Relief Fund Accepting Grant Applications

DENVER - Last week, Governor Jared Polis announced the launch of joint efforts to raise relief funds and volunteer efforts to address this public health crisis.
Help Colorado Now has raised $7.7 million dollars from nearly 4,000 individuals, foundations and companies since the fund launched. More than 9,000 volunteers including 2,000 health care volunteers have signed up to date. 
“This is exciting news at a tough time for our state, and this milestone could not have been achieved without the support and spirit of Coloradans,” said Gov. Polis. “This is an opportunity to reflect on what we can achieve when we work together and how we can help our fellow Coloradans and small businesses bounce back stronger than ever. I’m thankful for the support these efforts have received to date. Let’s all continue to rise to the challenge.”
 
The grant process has now begun and will be on a rolling basis. Those interested in applying for relief funds up to $25K can apply here. 
Coloradans can donate or sign up to volunteer at www.HelpColoradoNow.org. The Colorado COVID Relief Fund's purpose is to raise funds and coordinate the allocation of those contributions. Funds raised will be used to support the needs of communities impacted by COVID-19 in both response and recovery. Organizations helping with the response to COVID-19 are now eligible to apply for funds. 
The fund will support work in three categories: prevention, impact, and recovery efforts. This will include things like medical and cleaning supplies, food services, early childhood education, small business support, behavioral health services, and more. The fund will not provide direct assistance to individuals, but to community-based organizations providing direct assistance. 
Coloradans who can’t donate money are encouraged to donate their time by volunteering. Many people have skills that can be applied during this time, especially former health care workers who could return to the workforce to assist with the demand. In addition to funding and volunteers, the Governor continues to encourage healthy donors to donate blood to prevent a shortage in Colorado. Coloradans can visit Vitalant.org or click here to find a blood drive or donation center in their area. 
The Colorado COVID Relief Fund is hosted by the State of Colorado and Mile High United Way. The effort is co-chaired by Rick Sakpin and Roxane White. Additionally, the Colorado Health Foundation assisted in getting the application process up and running. The fund is overseen by a committee of community leaders from across Colorado and will be providing aid to support Colorado communities and organizations affected by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. 

March 29, 2020

Instructions for Critical Business Self-Certification

Download this form here.

Executive Order D 2020 017 “Ordering Coloradans To Stay at Home Due to the Presence of COVID-19 in the State,” and the corresponding Public Health Order 20-24 Amended Public Health Order 20-24 Implementing Stay at Home Requirements (PHO 20-24) exempt critical businesses. Please see PHO 20- 24 for the complete and current list of authorized businesses that are exempt.

Employers should find ways to allow employees to work from home as much as possible. State-wide compliance with Social Distancing Requirements is critical to prevent exponential spread of COVID-19. Employers should not take advantage of critical business functions to exempt more employees than are absolutely necessary to perform the critical operations needed for our State.

Accordingly, if a business can demonstrate that it is a critical business according to criteria in the Order, then it is exempt, subject to certain limitations, from PHO 20-24. Employees of critical businesses may have a special responsibility to maintain their work schedule and can be permitted to perform the essential functions of the business as certified by their leadership. Therefore, travel to and from a critical business is also exempt from PHO 20-24. Drivers and employees of critical businesses can use this document and any supporting documentation to declare that they are employed by a critical business and are certified to be
engaged in an essential function or service. Travel necessary to perform minimum basic operations of a business is also exempt.

Please know that the attached list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continue critical business viability, including but not limited to; staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to; health care operations, critical infrastructure, critical manufacturing, critical retail, critical services, news media, financial institutions,
providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, construction, defense, critical services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and critical operations of residences or other critical businesses, vendors that provide critical services or products including logistics and technology support, and child care services.

As local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, the State of Colorado is offering this document to help identify businesses and employees who support critical infrastructure sectors and the critical flow and transportation of goods and services.

In addition, these identified sectors and the employees within these sectors, are examples of critical functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response. Local officials should use their own judgment and authority for implementation and guidance. Similarly, critical infrastructure industry partners will use their own judgment, informed by this list, to ensure continued operations of critical infrastructure services and functions. All decisions should appropriately balance public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions.

It is important to note, this document is voluntary and not a requirement of any state order and merely created to assist both critical businesses and law enforcement to comply with public health orders. Therefore, the lack of this document does not imply non-compliance with any state order. At the same time, because it is a self certification, the mere presence of the document does not imply compliance either. The letter in no way intends to provide relief for moving violations or safety violations.

Critical businesses and critical government functions, as defined below, are exempted from PHO 20-24. All critical businesses are encouraged to remain open. Critical businesses must comply with social distancing requirements.

Critical Business - Any business, including any for-profit or non-profit, regardless of its corporate structure, engaged in any of the commercial, manufacturing, or service activities listed below, may continue to operate as normal. Critical Businesses must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the CDPHE and any applicable local health department. Critical Businesses must comply with Social Distancing Requirements and all PHOs currently in effect to the greatest extent possible and will be held accountable for doing so. Critical Businesses do NOT include health
clubs as defined in C.R.S. § 6-1-102(4.6), fitness and exercise gyms, and similar facilities, or any of the other businesses required to close by PHO 20-22.

Update from the Durango Business Improvement District

If you missed the webinar this past Thursday, with reps from Senator Bennett and Senator Gardner’s office participating, plus state and local leaders, you can view it HERE. And here is a link to the slides.

Funding opportunities

  • With the passage of the federal stimulus bill, details are coming out about how small businesses can access funds to help with essential operating expenses. There is a lot to learn still, but here is what we know:
    • $350 billion available, through Small Business Administration
    • SBA has two weeks to get this up and running
    • SBA will work with local banks for loans to small businesses, which is good as it allows you to use your existing relationship with your bank
    • Funds will be provided as loans, but as long as they are used for certain core operating expenses, the loan can be 100% forgiven. Eligible expenses include payroll, rent/mortgage, and utilities.
    • BID and others are watching this closely, and will let you know more info as it becomes available.
  • Region 9 Funding – Region 9 has created a Disaster Assistance Loan Program
    • Loans up to $10K, for essential business expenses including payroll, rent and utilities
    • 0% interest if paid back in 6 months, or 1% if paid back in 6 to 12 months
    • Deadline to apply is APRIL 9
    • If you have an existing loan from Region 9, contact them to discuss deferments on monthly payments
    • Region 9 is raising money through a new Enterprise Zone project that will create more funding for local, small businesses
    • www.scan.org
  • First Southwest Community Fund
    • Emergency loan fund through First Southwest Bank’s Community Fund arm
    • Loans $5,000 to $10,000
    • 2.5% interest, 7-year term
    • No payments due for first 90 to 180 days
    • https://www.fswcf.org/

Employees

  • Unemployment insurance available, state recommends applying for benefits on different days based on first letter of last name
  • Federal stimulus package adds 13 weeks to the existing 26 weeks of benefits, and also adds $600 a week for every approved claim
  • https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment

SWCODA.org

  • SWCODA = Southwest Colorado Disaster Assistance
  • Joint effort between business and nonprofit communities
  • One place to go to get help or to give help
  • Donations accepted for Community Emergency Relief Fund, over $100,000 donated to date!
  • All the resources above, in one place
  • https://www.swcoda.org/swcoda-business-resouFundrces

March 26, 2020

Colorado Tourism Office COVID-19 Updates

The Colorado Tourism Office has released updated COVID-19 talking points and messaging as of 3/26/20. Please save this link and check back often. The team continues to update on a regular basis as the situation evolves.

Region 9 Business Resource Webinar 

Counties in Region 9 of Colorado are invited to participate in this Webinar on Thursday that will be discussing small business plan action and what to do in the aftermath of COVID 19. 

From La Plata County Economic Development Alliance: 

Region9 Area Business Resource Webinar

Who: Business Community across Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan Counties

What: The regional economic development organizations have come together to host a business resource webinar in response to COVID-19 for the business community. This is an informational live webinar to discuss what federal, state and regional programs and resources are available, or are in development.  There will be a panel representing the regional organizations along with a virtual Q&A session.

Where: Online (see below for video/call information)

When:  Thursday, March 26, 2:30 PM

Agenda:

Federal Stimulus Bill -  John Whitney- Senator Bennet’s Office  and Ann McCoy Harold -Colorado Senator Gardner’s Office

SBDC and SBA Program- Mary Shepherd

State of Colorado OEDIT- Katharina Papenbrock

Region 9- Laura Lewis Marchino

SW Colorado Community Foundation CERF Fund- Briggen Wrinkle

Technology Platform:

Please download the Zoom app on your computer, tablet, or phone. Zoom works on all devices including Apple, Android, and PC. If you choose the audio only option, there is no need to download the Zoom app.

Zoom Video and Audio:

https://zoom.us/j/460651870

For Audio only: 

Phone Number: 1-346-248-7799 

Webinar ID: 460 651 870

March 24, 2020

Online Small Business Seminar Schedule

What’s the next move in order to make my business flourish again? Check out 

these online seminars provided by the Colorado Small Business Development 

Center Network.

March 25th, 10am - 11:30am: Financial Health

April 1st, 10am - 11:30am: Defensive Marketing 

April 8th, 10am - 11:30am: Adapting your Business 

From Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center:

3-Part Online Series: "Keeping Your Business Together in a Crisis"

As an entrepreneur you plan for many scenarios, but when disaster happens, new challenges require alternative solutions to keep your business together. As part of the economic ecosystem for Colorado we are here – along with our partners and community leaders – to help you get through the hurdles you encounter as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

This online series is provided at no-cost to help you establish your resilience as a business owner and to introduce adaptive and creative ideas to help you prepare for the problems all businesses experience. During these 90-minute sessions, you will hear from subject matter experts that will provide resources, ideas and tools you can proactively leverage to strengthen your business and weather the storm.

What Resources are Available to You?

Check out this document that contains all the resource information for small businesses in La Plata County and their employees. Also view a chart of what business food oriented vendors are still remaining open and their service options.

*Information provided by La Plata County Economic Development Alliance

 

March 23, 2020

Apply for Federal Funding

There are many grant options to choose from if you are considering applying for federal aid for your small business. When applying for these grants, it is important to weigh out when exactly they will be coming in and how long you will be waiting for access to your grant. For more detailed information regarding federal grant funding applications, visit this link.

From Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center:

As you consider applying for the different federal funding sources available for Colorado businesses, the following information can help you make the best choices for your situation:  

Federal funds carry program-specific restrictions and it’s important to know and protect your options. Review each program thoroughly. Your approval and acceptance of a loan from one federal program may cause you to be fully or partially ineligible for other sources of federal funding. 

Different federal funding such as loans and grants from multiple agencies will roll out at different times, so it’s important to consider the timing of the funding source.   

Federal economic disaster recovery loans are accessible right now for qualified businesses; however, no federal economic disaster recovery grants have been announced. Unfortunately, for businesses seeking immediate help, there is no way to predict which future federal tools – including grants – may be employed as COVID continues to impact the US economy. This can place businesses in the challenging position of weighing an immediate federal tool against the possibility of future programs that may or may not be offered, with requirements yet to be determined.   

We are committed to sharing news of all new economic recovery resources (both state and federal) as they become available and are here to be your guide through this challenging time.

March 20, 2020

Work with your Business Insurance Agency

You can file a claim through whatever company your business insures with! The state of Colorado is working with insurance commissioners to urge them to allow insurance claims for interruption of business. Fill out this survey to help Colorado locate the businesses who would extremely benefit from claiming this under their insurance policy.

From La Plata County Economic Development Alliance: 

In Cooperation with the Durango Chamber of Commerce please fill out this survey.

Business Interruption Insurance Help

Our business community has been hit hard by the closures, restrictions, and shelter-in-place guidelines resulting in the spread of COVID-19. We support our public health and county/state officials and have gratitude for their leadership during these uncertain times. 

 The Durango Chamber of Commerce is working with our state insurance commissioner and a coalition of other Chambers of Commerce across the United States to urge modifications on Business Interruption Insurance to be included as an allowed event. 

Please take one minute and answer the following questions. Please send your reply ASAP, as this is extremely time-sensitive, and please forward this email to your network.

We are aware that these claims are not usually a covered event.  We are currently working with our state legislators and insurance commissioner on this issue as this is an important "fix" we need to save our business community.

Civil Authority is the cause for business interruption, not a virus.  Civil Authority coverage for business income should begin 72 hours after the tie of the first act of civil authority and should pay for a period of up to four consecutive weeks from the date on which such coverage began and will end:

Four consecutive weeks after the date of that action; or

When your Civil Authority coverage for business income ends; whichever is later.

The Colorado Tourism Office

The Colorado Tourism Office is offering many useful resources to small business owners such as small business loan opportunities, new updated information concerning businesses and COVID 19 in Colorado, public health updates and economic information. Click here for more details.

From The Colorado Tourism Office: 

As we continue to work through the evolving COVID-19 situation, we want to keep you informed of the steps the State of Colorado is taking to support the tourism industry.

Today, Governor Polis announced that restaurants across the state now can sell alcoholic beverages with takeout, curbside and delivery orders. 

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade launched the Colorado COVID-19 Business Resource Center. This website includes information regarding economic-related announcements, small business loan opportunities, public health updates and more.  https://choosecolorado.com/covid19/

Colorado small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can seek individual small business loans through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) $2 million Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) now has a hotline for small business owners to call with questions about how to apply for these loans: (303) 860-5881.

We continue to encourage our partners to visit the Colorado tourism industry COVID-19 page for updated messaging and talking points as we continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.

Please be assured, the Colorado Tourism Office and our OEDIT colleagues are committed to being ongoing resources for you in the days and weeks to come.

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