COVID-19 Business Resources & Information Hub

COVID-19 Information and updates

Updated 3/30/2020

In the rapidly evolving environment surrounding business support related to COVID-19, we have been partnering with The Chamber and all organizations involved in the recently created Greater Fargo Moorhead COVID-19 Business Task Force. With these partners, we continue to gather information and coordinate to stay up-to-date on developments.

Covid-19 Business Task Force 3/27/2020 (This is a dynamic group with ongoing additions as needed to support long-term business sustainability.)


Federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

In response to COVID-19, Congress passed the CARES Act, a legislative package worth around $2 trillion.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce has provided a high-level summary of the CARES Act with an overview of business support programs, paycheck provisions for workers, and information on unemployment insurance changes.


CARES Act Summary

  • Provides $3.5B for child care assistance to States for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program (CCDBG) and expands the program to include child care assistance for workers deemed essential during the response to Covid-19.
  • Creates a $349B ‘Paycheck Protection Program’ that provides federal government loan forgiveness (under Small Business Administration (SBA) Section 7(a) loans) for small businesses to pay up to eight weeks of utility bills (including electric, telephone, and internet), mortgage interest and rent, and payroll costs, among other uses.
  • Creates a $10B program through SBA to provide grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses (no more than 500 employees) to maintain payroll and pay rent or mortgages, among other uses. Electric cooperatives with under 500 employees may be eligible for this program.
  • Clarifies payment limitations for the newly mandated FMLA/sick leave requirements.  Limits emergency paid FMLA leave to $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each employee.  Limits emergency paid sick leave to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate or more than $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate to care for a quarantined individual or child for each employee under this section.
  • Waives the 10% early distribution penalty for 401(k) and IRA withdrawals up to $100,000, and certain loan flexibility for “coronavirus-related distributions” and waives required minimum distributions for 2020.
  •  Provides a refundable tax credit, tied to the payment of wages by employers during the COVID-19 crisis.  Eligible employers would be permitted to claim a 50% credit on wages up to $10,000 per employee.
  • Allows employers and self-employed individuals to defer payment of the employer share of the Social Security tax with respect to their employees.
  • Temporarily increases the amount of interest expense businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns, by increasing the 30 percent limitation to 50 percent of taxable income (with adjustments) for 2019 and 2020. This could affect members with taxable subsidiaries and G&Ts that have off-system sales.


ND Resources and Information

The ND Department of Commerce (NDDOC) has available a potential funding source. Loans and equity investments are available to primary sector-certified companies via the North Dakota Development Fund, Revolving Rural Loan Fund and the Venture Capital Program:

  • Up to $1 million
  • Lower than market interest rate
  • Can be in the form of a loan or equity investment
  • Funding can be used for working capital, equipment or real estate

NDDOC has indicated that this program will be available until all of the funds are deployed. This is a first-come, first-serve resource.

Both job retention and job creation are factors of consideration with applications.  For more information, please see NDDOC’s State Financial Resources page of their COVID-19 Business and Employer Resources site.

ND State Survey

To better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting businesses across the state, the ND Department of Commerce is asking businesses to take the survey at the link below. Please feel free to share this link within your network. If you would like immediate assistance, please scroll down to fill out our intake form or to find our contact information.

North Dakota COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

ND Opportunity Fund Approves Disaster Assistance Loan Program

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the North Dakota Opportunity Fund (NDOF) Steering Committee has approved a disaster assistance loan program for small businesses located in the consortium communities that are adversely impacted by the pandemic. The NDOF is made up of a consortium of 38 communities and is administered by Lewis & Clark Development Group.

Under the program, small businesses must show they’ve been affected by the disaster which will then allow them to apply for up to $50,000 in loans with 0% interest and no payments during the first six months. After six months, the loan will be 4% amortized for up to five years. Typically, businesses may use the North Dakota Opportunity Fund for construction, real estate, equipment purchases, working capital, and for interim SBA 504 loans. However, under the terms of the disaster loan program, impacted businesses can seek loans only for working capital.

More information about the North Dakota Opportunity Fund may be found at their website or by contacting


Minnesota Resources and Information

Small Business Emergency Loans ($30 million – Executive Order 20-15)

    • Businesses use DEED’s list of certified lenders
    • Applications to become a certified nonprofit lender will be available on Monday (3/30)

Loan Guarantees ($10 million – passed by Legislature this past week)

    • Program information – including lender enrollment applications – will be available on Monday (3/30)
    • Please raise awareness of this program with your local lenders

More flexibility on the use of RLFs funded by state MIF repayments (Exec. Order and Legislation)

    • Program flexibility is available through June 30, 2020

More info on Minn DEED business finance tools you and your businesses can use to help get through these challenging times.

Minnesota DEED Small Business Emergency Loans
▪ This can be used as a bridge loan if other funding has been secured. If SBA or other lending
sources, the expectation would be to have the business pay this loan off (not forgiven).
▪ The funding mechanism is not active yet but will be soon. Applicants should still prepare and apply.

Loan terms/eligibility details and more info 

Minnesota Unemployment

Important Update on Applying for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance team members are processing more applications for unemployment benefits than ever before. Apply online on an assigned day, based on your social security number (SSN).

If you need to apply for unemployment benefits for the first time, please refer to the schedule below to learn when you are scheduled to apply. You will only be allowed to apply on your assigned day – or on Thursday or Friday if you missed your assigned day.

The table below lists the day and time to start an application based on the last digit of your SSN. For example: a person with the SSN XXX-XX-XXX6 would apply on Wednesday.

If the last digit of your SSN is: Day of week you should apply online:
0, 1 or 2 Monday
3, 4 or 5 Tuesday
6, 7, 8 or 9 Wednesday
Any number Thursday
Any number Friday

Important Things to Know

  • The date of application will not affect the amount of benefits you will be paid.
  • If you already have a Unemployment Insurance account, you can still login anytime.
  • Please do not call the Unemployment Insurance office to ask about the status of your application. Your online account will be updated when more information is available.
  • If you have questions please visit the Need to Know page on the site.

Have more questions about whether you qualify for Unemployment Insurance, how to apply and what the process is? Please visit the UI Need to Know page

Small Business Administration (SBA) Resources

North Dakota and Minnesota have been declared eligible for disaster loans related to COVID-19. 

Here is a link to their site:

Three-step process to address financing

At this point in time, we’re recommending the following three steps to address financing for stressed businesses.








First, it’s important to contact your lender. Currently, federal agencies are working to offset the economic impacts of this pandemic and some of the quickest ways of doing this are directly through local lenders. For this reason, they may well have the quickest response to assist you.


For businesses that have been economically impacted by COVID-19, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is responding with the Small Business Disaster Loan program. With passage of the supplemental appropriation, the SBA was provided funding to distribute through their disaster relief program. These loans can be applied for under the following guidelines.

  • Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the disaster’s impact.
  • Up to $2,000,000 Per Business
  • 3.75% interest rate for small business and 2.75% for non-profits
  • May be able to pay back over a 30-year term depending on borrower ability to repay
  • Applicants must not be eligible for other loans
  • This is a direct loan from the SBA and online applications are available at

Business can start preparing information for the application. Please go to the following link to determine your eligibility or to apply.


Look at state or regional financial assistance programs. Many of them are already established to support your business. We’re happy to help you identify state and region-wide assistance programs that are developed or are coming online.

We want to hear from you

In addition to keeping you updated on the most current information, we want to understand any specific impacts to your business. As such, we welcome you to email to share your specific challenges and concerns. We can work to connect you to federal and state programs that are emerging to address this pandemic and its economic impact. To connect with us, please email Ryan Aasheim at or John Machacek at

Please fill out our intake form.

Please note that the EDC serves primary-sector companies, which are companies that sell a majority of their goods and services outside our region or local trade area. If most of your sales are from local business activities (retail, service, hospitality, non-profit, etc.), we ask that you contact The Chamber directly at 218-233-1100 instead of filling out the intake form below.

Additional resources

The ND Department of Commerce has begun the development of a “one-stop,” easy-to-navigate business resource web page that aggregates important information relative to COVID-19 economic resources.

Lift and Innovate ND on hold

In response to COVID-19, the ND Department of Commerce has announced LIFT and Innovate ND are on hold until further notice.
Lift Press Release
Innovate ND Press Release

ND Department of Commerce One-Stop

MN Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) is taking proactive steps to ensure the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic do not cause unnecessary burdens on employers and workers in Minnesota. Their site contains information for impacted workers and employers.

MN DEED COVID-19 Resources