As the county-wide economic development organization, we are staying in close contact with the Governor’s office and relaying information to businesses in real time.
For example, today, the Governor issued an executive order to temporarily expand eligibility for unemployment benefits and under the order, an employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations.
The order also expands the State’s Work Share program. Employers are encouraged to implement the program that permits employers to maintain operational productivity during declines in regular business activity instead of laying off workers. More information about Work Share can be found here.
On the federal level, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor has informed SBA that she is seeking an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for the state and has initiated the process to receive the declaration from SBA. Once granted, small businesses in qualifying areas will be able to access low-interest loans through the SBA. In the interim, we are encouraging small businesses that could benefit from SBA loans to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.
The governor has requested that President Trump issue a Major Disaster Declaration so that Individual Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance through FEMA may be made available to additional Michiganders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit MEDC’s website: www.michiganbusiness.org or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website https://sbdcmichigan.org/small-business-covid19/ for additional information.
If the EDC is a pubic body, needs to meet to address pressing issues, but prefers to limit face to face contact, our Governor issues an executive order to allow conference call/remote computer access meetings – as long as there is public access and the opportunity to provide public input is preserved.
Joann Crary is the President of Saginaw Future