The Loop CID is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation. We are following the recommendations from the CDC and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services on prevention and spread of the virus. The safety of our community is our number one priority.
The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster declaration is extended to Dec. 31, 2021. The deadline extension comes as a result of the recent bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and enacted by President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020.
To date, the SBA has approved $197 billion in low-interest loans which provides working capital funds to small businesses, non-profits and agricultural businesses make it through this challenging time.
“Following the President’s declaration of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the SBA has approved over 3.6 million loans through our Economic Injury Disaster Loan program nationwide,” Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “The EIDL program has assisted millions of small businesses, including non-profit organizations, sole proprietors and independent contractors, from a wide array of industries and business sectors, to survive this very difficult economic environment.”
EIDL loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021, pending the availability of funds. Loans are offered at very affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. Every eligible small business and nonprofit are encouraged to apply to get the resources they need.
This new city order begins May 4 and is more cautious than the state's orders. They include the ability of more businesses to open but with new occupancy limits to all businesses.
The City/County Health Department has a road map for reopening and there will be about 3 weeks between each phase. They will also provide safety guidelines for businesses planning on reopening.
Businesses should refer to the business guidance document provided by the City/County Health Department for more information on how to safely operate during this time. If you are a business with questions about operating requirements, please email [email protected]. In addition to business guidance, the Health Department will be launching an online, voluntary training for businesses to certify that they are using best safety practices during COVID-19. More information will be available soon.
Please visit www.como.gov for specific regulations for all businesses and venues.
Updated Stay-at-Home Order - Curbside Pick Up for Non-Essential Retail Allowed
Stephanie Browning, director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services has issued Stay at Home Order 2020-04, which includes the addition of supplemental authorized activities to include curbside pickup and delivery for all retail businesses. The order is effective at 8 a.m. on April 25 and expires at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 3 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by further order. A signed copy of the order is linked below.
"This order now aligns with the timeline from Governor Parson's order. The prevalence of new COVID-19 cases has decreased to the point that I feel comfortable in starting to slowly open up some retail businesses. I do want to emphasize how important it will be for everyone to continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene so we don't see a resurgence in cases," Browning said.
The highlights of the renewal of the stay at home order are:
In addition to the renewal of the stay at home order, a framework for response and recovery is being drafted which will describe in some detail the measured steps necessary to reopen our communities. This plan will be shared the week of April 27.
A list of frequently asked questions regarding order 2020-04 is also linked below.
SBA is adding resources but please be patient if their system is slow. Keep trying the online system and they recommend:
Online submissions are still recommended because you will receive a confirmation of application and be assigned an application number that will allow you to sign into the system to get real time status updates on the application.
Although it is still recommended that applicants keep trying to apply through the SBA Disaster loan portal, this may not be possible for some due to the high volume of traffic. You can also print the paper forms and mail them in or upload them electronically.
Mail completed forms to:
U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Email them to: [email protected]
Here’s a link to the forms:
Safety Guidelines for Temporary Business Closures
On Tuesday, March 24, Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Director Stephanie Browning signed a Stay at Home Order (Order 2020-03) related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The order is effective beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 25, 2020, and will continue to be in effect until 8 a.m. on April 24, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended. The order’s intent is to ensure that the maximum number of people stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) while enabling essential services to continue.
There are exemptions in the order related to essential activities, such as obtaining necessary supplies and services, activities related to health and safety, and more. All business and operations, except essential business and operations (as defined in the order), must cease.
Restaurants and retail food establishments may provide pick-up, drive-thru or delivery service.
As outlined in a previous order, all public and private gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, unless exempt by the terms in the order. All playgrounds will be closed to reduce the potential spread, however, public outdoor recreation areas remain open.
Please read the full order for more details:
Major categories of essential businesses defined in the order include:
A full list of categories of essential businesses is provided in the order and they include: grocery and liquor stores, restaurants with take-out and delivery, gas stations, auto supply and repair, hardware stores, laundromats, dry cleaners, banks, media, trucking and transportation providers, construction services and more.
We strongly encourage all essential businesses to allow employees to work from home and to maintain social distancing to the extent feasible in continuing to carry out their operations.Non-essential businesses can continue operations that can be conducted from employees’ homes.
They can also continue minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory and facilities and to ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions, as well as minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, provided social distancing is maintained.
Any operations that do not meet these requirements must be ceased.
New city restrictions on gathering places, including bars, restaurants, and other venues will start Saturday, March 21 at 2:00 am.
Rules and Regulations
Section 1.01 Purpose and construction of rules and regulations. The purpose of the rules and regulations contained herein is to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The rules and regulations established herein are remedial in nature and should be interpreted consistent with the intended purpose.
Section 1.02 Bars and nightclubs without food service. All bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption in the City of Columbia that do not prepare food for on-site are closed to the public for indoor and outdoor seating. Carry-out service is allowed to the extent allowed by state and local law so long as appropriate precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to social distancing techniques, are used in providing service.
Section 1.03 Restaurants and retail food facilities. All restaurants and retail food facilities that prepare food for on-site consumption in the City of Columbia shall be closed to the public for indoor and outdoor seating. Restaurants and retail food facilities are encouraged to operate for purposes of preparing and offering food to customers via delivery service, window service, drive-through service, drive-up service, or carry-out service so long as every such person involved implements appropriate precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to social distancing. "Restaurants and retail food facilities" includes but is not limited to bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other places of public accommodation preparing and offering food for sale. The City of Columbia shall not enforce any provision of an ordinance, permit, or other restriction that would, as applied to the specific circumstances, prohibit an existing restaurant or retail food facility from providing delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, drive-up service, carry-out service for food during the state of emergency declared by the City Manager on March 16, 2020. Carry-out service of alcohol is allowed to the extent allowed by state and local law so long as appropriate precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to social distancing techniques, are used in providing service.
Section 1.04 Entertainment venues. All movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades and other entertainment venues shall limit occupancy to a maximum of ten people, including employees and staff located on premises.
Section 1.05 Gym and fitness facilities. All gyms and fitness centers shall limit occupancy to to a maximum of ten people, including employees and staff located on premises.
Section 1.06 Limitation on other gatherings.
Section 1.07 Exemptions. The following are exempt from the restriction in this Article but encouraged to use appropriate precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19, including but not limited to social distancing techniques:
Section 1.08 Critical Infrastructure. The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof. See https://www.cisa.gov/identifyjng-critical-infrastructureduring-covid-19. The preceding rules and regulations do not apply to these critical infrastructure sectors except to the extent that they are open to the public. Employers in these areas are encouraged to implement social distancing measures listed above to the extent possible.
A message of City of Columbia Human Services:
I'm writing during these challenging times to provide some updates and information about our human services response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are operating under a county-wide incident command structure under the Boone County Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Our department is the designated lead for ESF-6 Mass Care and Human Services and I am serving as the lead, with support from Joanne Nelson, Director of the Boone County Community Services Department.
In a more typical disaster, we would likely be opening a disaster relief center. Needless to say, that is not practicable in this unprecedented situation. So, we are going to try a virtual system. In order to avoid overwhelming ourselves and our partners, we are promoting 211 as the place to call to get help. 211 has indicated they have the capacity to continue to take calls and make referrals.
We know that we all struggle to meet the needs during normal times and that needs will be exponentially greater during and after this pandemic. So we are working to build a system in which you can easily communicate to us the unmet needs you are identifying. This will allow us to conduct ongoing needs assessments and to prioritize needs and resources objectively through the incident command structure.
At this time, we are focused on meeting the basic needs for shelter, housing, food, and medical care. We are also working to coordinate mental health services and information. Ensuring access to child care for our essential work force is also a top priority. As we develop health and human services resource guides specific to COVID-19, we will be sure to share those and where to find them on our web site:
A quick note about food, which is on everyone's mind. Attached please find the Food Bank's list of food pantries, along with FAQs. Also, please note that Columbia Public Schools will begin a feeding program for CPS students on March 30. More to come on that. We are also working with Services for Independent Living, Meals on Wheels, and Aging Best to continue to meet the need for home delivered meals and groceries and respond to the what will surely be a growing demand for these services.
We are working with many of you on these issues. If we haven't been in touch, we haven't forgotten about you. If you need anything, please feel free to reach out to us. And please share this email with your contacts. If you aren't on our listserv, please sign up: https://www.como.gov/Web_Mail/ (choose Division of Human Services Email Updates).
We know that we will need additional resources to meet the increase in need for health and human services and to support our local nonprofits. Look for updates tomorrow about the launch of a joint COVID-19 donations campaign intended to support local needs and nonprofits.
Regarding volunteers, the City's Office of Neighborhood Services is the designated lead agency for volunteer management in the Boone County EOP. We are supporting volunteerism in two ways:
Posting specific agency needs for volunteers
If you would like us to post and promote volunteer opportunities for your agency, please share the agency name, address, contact name, phone and email along with as much concise detail as you can including purpose, task, physical requirements, date/time help is needed, number of volunteers needed and what to wear or bring. Please send this information to the City's Volunteer Program at: [email protected]
Creating a bank of unaffiliated volunteers
If you are getting offers from volunteers you can't utilize, please refer people to sign up as an unaffiliated volunteer. We will also draw from this bank to meet your volunteer needs.
Please refer to the COVID-19 volunteer website (https://www.como.gov/volunteer/covid/) for details.
The Governor has requested a disaster declaration and as soon as the SBA approves it, disaster assistance funds, including low and no interest loans and grants, become immediately available to Missouri businesses and private nonprofits. Applications can be completed online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. We recommend setting up the online account in anticipation of SBA approval. This means you no longer have to fill out the Economic Injury Worksheets--we have already met the threshold.
The Governor and the State Legislature are aware of the need and are currently working on approval. The goal is to expedite the process for acquiring such benefits and to greatly alter the requirements for keeping these benefits for those effected by COVID-19. Congress is authorizing a temporary extension of benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks in states with a 10% spike in unemployment.
Congress will waive work requirements for SNAP benefits and the use of SNAP benefits for the duration of the the COVID-19 emergency declaration will not count against an individual’s ability to use them once the emergency has passed. Additionally, any state that declares their own state of emergency can request additional SNAP funding. Our state has not yet made this request.
More relief packages on the federal level are anticipated. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is taking the lead on these policy issues so please check their website for updates.
A message from the Chamber:
Columbia Chamber of Commerce Legislative Efforts for COVID-19 Relief
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is working with its community partners, state and federal officials, along with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce to work towards relief for our business community.
Our current top legislative and governmental priorities and efforts focus around:
One of the Chamber’s greatest effort has been in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the state chamber who have been working through local chambers such as ours to petition the Small Business Administration to declare Missouri a Designated Disaster Area due to COVID-19.
In addition to DED and chambers, legislators have begun pushing for this action, followed by the Governor and all of Missouri’s Congressional Delegation.
Once the SBA confirms Missouri’s disaster declaration, disaster assistance funds become immediately available to Missouri businesses and private nonprofits. This includes low and no interest loans, and grants. This action is expected to occur soon.
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce will continue to advocate for Missouri to take action to provide relief to those who have been laid off. Today, with the full support of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Missouri’s Congressional Delegation and Congress passed Phase 2 of the federal COVID-19 stimulus response. Highlights of this Phase include up to $1 billion in a boost to unemployment benefits in preparation for the increased demand as a result of layoffs due to the economic downturn.
This boost allows Missouri, pending state action, to expedite the process for acquiring benefits and alter the requirements to keep said benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to unemployment benefits, Congress’ Phase 2 includes a measure that will provide refundable tax credits to employers to cover wages paid to employees while they are taking time off under sick leave and family leave programs. Credits would be against employers’ payroll tax payments.
This credit would be in effect for wages through the end of 2020.
These legislative and governmental efforts will help our businesses and community better endure the damaging impact of COVID-19.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an interview, please contact Mary Kate Hafner at (573) 817-9108.
A message from the Chamber of Commerce:
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private nonprofits in affected areas. As part of the effort to achieve an SBA disaster declaration for the State of Missouri, we are encouraging our local small businesses and nonprofits to provide economic impact information to our state by completing the required Economic Injury Worksheet.
The Economic Injury Worksheet certifies that a business or nonprofit has suffered substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 and requires financial assistance. This information will significantly support our state’s application for an SBA disaster declaration. Every report makes our case stronger!
The worksheet and informational flyer are available on the Chamber's website here. If you have any questions concerning the SBA loans, please consult the attached flyer and SBA’s website, or contact the Chamber at (573) 874-1132.
Please, email completed forms to Michelle Hataway at the Missouri Department of Economic Development at [email protected].
A message from the Chamber of Commerce:
We are dedicated to serving our business community as we continue to navigate this time of uncertainty together. For your access, we have collected resources for businesses and individuals on our website. This page can be found here, or on our website under our Resources tab.
On the page, you can find resources from the CDC, Missouri Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others. Additionally, as our situation changes locally, we will include city updates, such as last night’s City Council decision. This page will continue to be updated as information becomes available.
We hope our small businesses will be able to make use of these resources. Two videos from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, concerning the legal side of COVID-19, are linked below.
Coronavirus Webinar for Missouri Employers — McMahon Berger: https://vimeo.com/397531520
Coronavirus —Thompson Coburn on Employment Law Issues: https://vimeo.com/397526240
Our March board meeting is cancelled.
Last night, the City Council voted for the following resolution in order to protect public health and "flatten the curve":
It will also close all gyms, movie theaters, libraries and community centers in Columbia, including the city’s Activity and Recreation Area or ARC complex.
We realize these are difficult times for businesses but the sooner we can control the virus, the better it will be in the long run.
Rae Adams will be contacting businesses via phone to compile a list of ways Loop businesses are adapting to COVID-19 and these new guidelines. Look for posts on this website and social media with options for online sales, take-out meals, phone assistance, etc.
Our March board meeting will be held but we will be following the CDC guidelines and postponing our Maker Meetups and Entrepreneurial Workshops for the next two months. We will absolutely pick them up once the COVID-19 situation has passed. We will post any updates on our social media pages and our website.
We will also post information about our local shops and restaurants on Facebook and Twitter. Right now, they're open for business and we have many drive-thrus!
Local businesses often operate on very small margins and their employees don't always have the ability to wait out a situation such as this. So be smart, keep your hands washed, but also think in terms of alternatives. Drive-thrus, to-go orders, and delivery are often options. Or, consider purchasing a gift certificate from your favorite restaurant or store. It will help the business get through a lull and you can redeem it later.
Overall, be safe and smart but if you are not a high risk individual, washing hands, using hand sanitizer, keeping your phone clean, and avoiding handshakes are all ways to stay healthy while you go about normal activities like working, grocery shopping, and the like.
For local updates, please follow the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services and visit https://como.gov/health/novel-coronavirus-2019-covid-19/ for recommendations and updates. And, as always, wash those hands!