WCBID COVID-19 Emergency Response Resources for Small Businesses as of 9/4/2020

Below are resources for businesses, employers and employees who have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This list is updated as changes arise in this dynamic economic climate, so keep checking back for more information.

Also, please fill out this short online form to let us know what services you’re offering, and how we might help you during this time. We’ll also use this information to update the list of businesses who are offering pick-up, online gift cards, etc. on this page and to share with the community, alongside the tips here on how to support small businesses.

Grants & Loans

WCBID Covid Relief Fund Now Open and Accepting Applications & Updates

With all of the challenges that Covid-19 has brought, West Colfax BID is pleased to announce that has obtained $500,000 in Covid-19 Relief funding in order to be make its grants to WCBID businesses and nonprofits focused on economic development in the districtApplication link below. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis, that is as they come in. 

Grants in will provide WCBID businesses:

  1. Reimbursement for economic losses due to decrease in revenues from Covid-19: now $6000-$20000 based on actual revenue decline during the Covid period compared to the same period in 2019, severity of Covid-impact on a business and community role.
  2. Plus Reimbursement for expenses to manage Covid-19. Examples include purchases of PPE, plastic shields, Covid-19 testing of employees, equipment for social distancing like tables and chairs, sun/rain shades, winterization of outdoor seating through tenting, propane heaters, etc. Receipts required to evidence purchases.

We can accept a wide variety of documentation that demonstrates an economic hardship experienced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Gather documents that show how you have been impacted by COVID-19, for example:

  • bank records
  • point of sale receipts 
  • profit and loss statements
  • tax filings 
  • expense receipts

Please present information so that we can determine your gross revenues from a post-Covid-19 period of time, compared to the same period in 2019.

Apply For the COVID-19 Relief Grant

Energize Colorado Grants

Energize Colorado gap grant and loan fund has been offering small businesses in Colorado up to $15,000 in grants and $20,000 in loans.  Preference on minority- and women-owned and rural businesses.  Please check the link to see if they have reopened for new applications.

City Grants & PPE

West Colfax is among a select group of priority neighborhoods where small businesses can get a grant right now. Here is the  link to get one. Note this is only if you have not already received a City grant.

PPE kits, valued at $300, are available at no cost.  So a reminder to do the quick registration at bit.ly/DenverFreePPE while they are left for:

  • 1 64oz. Hand Sanitizer
  • 40 1oz. Hand Sanitizers
  • 1 gal. of Surface Disinfectant
  • 100 Surgical Masks
  • 1 Non-contact thermometers
  • 10 Face Shields

Any challenges with the registration? We can do it for you through a set aside.

Federal Stimulus forgivable loans

With PPP changes enacted June 5th, businesses now have 24 weeks to spend towards forgiveness through December 31st.  That gives you more time to convert the loan to a grant (and more now can be used for overhead versus payroll).  

  • This article from Forbes points out that while the PPP loans can be almost entirely forgivable, the fine print reveals some limitations. However, the legislation enacted 6/5 now allows 40% of the loan to be used for mortgage interest, rent and utilities and still be forgiven, with the remainder of 60% required to be spent on payroll.  This Forbes article uses a hypothetical business to share tips like what documents to prepare, the fact that the loans have no prepayment penalty, and any amount forgiven will not be taxed.  It also describes what documents to get ready while waiting for a bank and the SBA sort through glitches in program roll-out.
  • Do you have questions about rehiring or headcount.  For example, do you have to rehire the same employees? Can I reduce compensation of employees and still get forgiveness? What do I do if my employees won’t return to work? How do I meet the headcount requirements (which are now extended to December 31st)? Check out these PPP FAQs on Rehiring Employees with answers to these questions so you can get your full forgiveness.  
  • Guidance and details on PPP Forgiveness are finally available:Work with trusted advisors to set up and keep accurate records. The best way to remain prepared is to standardize your record keeping for your PPP loan and to have all your documents easily accessible. Focus on records for the allowable uses under your PPP loan, such as payroll reports, utility expenses, mortgage interest and rent expenses.  If you need assistance with this, contact us and we can refer you to a great, local, no-fee resource at info@westcolfaxbid.org.Three PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Forms are now available. 

    Plan to submit records that can be quickly and easily reviewed by your lender. Remember your lender will have thousands of these PPP forgiveness applications to review, so keep your application concise and to the point. Maintain more detailed records for up to 7 years for any possible additional followup or review. 

    When to apply. Borrowers have time to wait to file for forgiveness. Borrowers may apply for loan forgiveness as soon as they have met the eligible use criteria, or, at any time up until 10 months after the end of your covered period (10 months + 24 weeks).

     

    Work with your bank. Wait for guidance from your lender on when to apply for PPP loan forgiveness. Many banks are also waiting for final rulings and anticipated changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. Lenders are building out their own internal systems to process these efficiently and through their websites.

    Other tools to assist you through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness process are available. Watch for new content from trusted sources like the Colorado Small Business Development Centers, the AICPA and your CPA. 

    Source: Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade verified by the SBA.

  • Covid-19 Employer Retention & Leave Credits. If you didn’t get the PPP, these retention credits can provide 50% of the qualified wages paid from 3/13-12/31/20 this year.  There are also credits for all small employers who pay sick or family leave.
  • Last, you might also check out this compilation from the SBDC provides many more resources, and is updated regularly as more information comes in and programs roll out. 

Back to Brick & Mortar....with Outdoor Seating

Back to Brick & Mortar

With the City moving to open more and more businesses over time, we thought you would might want to check out this great resource on how to successfully  reopen safely and instill confidence in employees and customers.  Back to Brick & Mortar Guidebook by Access offers best practices and considerations for businesses, compiled with detailed guidance from experts in public health, real estate strategy, communications, and retail operations.  

&Access, who brought you Back at Brick and Mortar, developed Safety Signage Packages for in-store and outdoor use.  Download yours today here.

EEOC allows COVID-19 workplace testing, and what this means

Expanded Outdoor Seating

Speaking of the out-of-doors, interested in outdoor seating for your restaurant or drinking and eating establishment?  We drafted this letter to the Mayor calling for urgency in creating flexible and creative rules for expanded outdoor seating with some 50 restaurants, business districts and industry groups signing on. 

In response to our advocacy, the Colorado Restaurant Association and others, Denver launched a temporary program to expand outdoor seating for restaurants, bars, and similar businesses to allow for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons. You can submit a proposal here for the city to review. The application is straightforward, with considerations to include plans and accommodations for safety, mobility, and local and emergency access. Check out the FAQs for more guidance.

Cheney Bostic of Studio Seed has created a Friendly Business Guide for Outdoor Expansion. If you want to expand your outdoor space for patrons, but aren’t sure where to start – check it out for ideas and examples that may work for your space.

Feel free to contact us at info@westcolfaxbid.org with any questions.  

If you are interested in this and related efforts, please email dshah@westcolfaxbid.org subject line “advocacy”.

Managing Overhead and Unemployment

Lease & Loan Negotiations

A number of lenders are entertaining loan deferrals, as are landlords re-negotiating leases with short term abatements or concessions in return for an extended term, for example.

Depending on the circumstances, some options include:

  • 3 months deferred payment, added to end of lease
  • 50% reduction for 3 months
  • Interest-only payments, full utilities/CAM fees
  • Base rent on reduced revenue-generating square footage (i.e, kitchen only in a restaurant just doing take-out/delivery)

Similarly, property owners and businesses are negotiating with their banks for loan modifications, including:

  • Reduced payments
  • Interest-only payments
  • Loan payment deferrals

Be prepared to demonstrate to your bank how you are being affected by current events and what you’ve done to reduce expenses through salary reductions, staff layoffs, landlord negotiations, vendor and supplier accommodations.

Unemployment

This resource from the Colorado Restaurant Association (but generally applicable to employers in Colorado) goes into the details of unemployment. It includes information on “jobs attached” and “work share” as methods to allow employees to, respectively, more easily collect unemployment compensation but return to payroll, or remain on a reduced payroll while collecting unemployment at the same time. It also has information to share with unemployed employees, and this link has more resources on how they can access a meal.  Finally, note the PPP Fact sheet, question 40 regarding loan forgiveness when efforts to rehire are not successful.