COVID-19 Business Resources & Information Hub

COVID-19 Information and updates

COVID-19 Regional Business Task Force

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  (This is a dynamic group with ongoing additions as needed to support long-term business sustainability.)

If you need assistance, please scroll down the page and fill out our intake form. 

Survey Results

In collaboration with the COVID-19 Regional Business Task Force, we sent out two survey to 5,000 organizations representing all industry sectors.

In our second, and most recent survey, we received 322 responses. Here are the top-line results.

COVID-19 Regional Business Survey 2 Top Line Results

In March, we sent out our first survey to 5,000 organizations and received more than 749 responses.

See the summaries of our results below:

COVID-19BusinessTaskForceSurvey1-Top-line survey results



Federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

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.

A complete version of the Federal CARES Act


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.


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a federal financial assistance program all companies should look into utilizing:
  • designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll
  • businesses with less than 500 employees are eligible to receive fee-free loans of up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses.
  • 1% interest rate
  • All or a portion of the loan may be forgivable depending on expenditures over the 8 weeks (updated option to extend to 24 weeks) after getting the loan, as well as changes in headcount and payroll/wages.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals are all eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • The amount any small business is eligible to borrow is 250 percent of their average monthly payroll expenses, up to a total of $10 million.
Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (June legislation that modifies prior requirements)

ND Resources and Information

The North Dakota Industrial Commission authorized the Bank of North Dakota (BND) to provide two financing programs to assist North Dakota businesses in obtaining long-term, low-interest loans to assist in the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan programs will help both small and large businesses to secure working capital and replenish inventory. BUSINESSES WILL NEED TO CONTACT AND WORK WITH THEIR LENDER FOR THESE PROGRAMS.

The Small Employer Loan Fund (SELF) will provide a loan of up to $50,000 to small businesses with a full-time employee equivalent (FTE) of 10 employees or less. These loans may be used for working capital, recurring expenses and replenishing inventory. Business owners will work with their local lender to access the program. The loan has a maximum term of 10 years and a fixed interest rate of 1%, with deferral of loan payments for up to six months. Click here for more information on the eligibility, criteria and terms of the program.

The COVID-19 PACE Recovery Program (CPRP) will provide a loan of up to $5 million for businesses of less than 500 employees and a loan of up to $10 million for businesses with more than 500 employees. Loan payments may be deferred for up to six months, at which time the loan will term out with up to a 10-year amortization. The interest rate on the loan will be bought down by BND to 1% for a period of time, with a maximum buydown of $500,000. Business owners will access the program through their local lender. Unlike other PACE program offerings from BND, there is no community match required.

Click here for more information on the eligibility, criteria and terms of the program.

To qualify, North Dakota businesses must have been established before Feb.15, 2020 and loan applications must be received before Nov. 30, 2020.

Through a combination of the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the Bank of North Dakota’s accumulated and undivided profits, the Industrial Commission will make $200 million available for interest buydown and $50 million for low-interest loans.  The buydown will be leveraged to provide up to $2 billion in low interest loans.

For more information on North Dakota specific programs, go to North Dakota Response. You will find information related to both state and federal resources available to businesses and communities affected economically as a result of this public health threat.

ND Department of Commerce Loans

The ND Department of Commerce (NDDOC), 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 the ND Development Fund Loans section of the COVID-19 Business and Employer Resources site.


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.

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.

The NDOF is made up of a consortium of 38 communities and is administered by Lewis & Clark Development Group. More information about the North Dakota Opportunity Fund may be found at their website or by contacting

LIFT and Innovate ND

As of August, 2020 the LIFT program funding has been exhausted.  

In early May, the North Dakota Department of Commerce announced that the Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT) Committee began accepting applications for the LIFT program.

LIFT Program

The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced that the Innovate North Dakota program is again accepting new enrollments and resuming the program’s offerings with current participants.

Commerce announced in March that the Innovate ND program was placed on hold in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With our economy shifting to recovery and rebuilding, it is more important than ever to utilize the programs that we already have in place to restart and grow our economy,” Commerce Head of Investments and Innovation Josh Teigen said. “Supporting our entrepreneurial ecosystem will open new opportunities for business growth and job creation throughout the state.”

Innovate ND is a voucher and grant program available to entrepreneurs in North Dakota. The program provides resources to assist with turning an innovative idea into a profitable business.

For more information and to enroll.

Minnesota Resources and Information

When Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has new information for businesses, they will post them to their “Information For Businesses” page.

Minn. DEED Guide for Small Business Resources
Guide for Small Business

Minn. DEED COVID-19 Website 

Midwest Minnesota CDC Small Business Emergency Loan Program

The Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMDCD) is offering a small business emergency loan program for Minnesota small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Under the program, small businesses may apply for up to $50,000 in loans iith 3.50% interest, 60 months term (10 year amortization) and interest-only payments during the first 12 months.

More information about the MMCDC Small Business Emergency Loan Program may be found at their website or by contacting

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

These emergency loans will be made by an existing network of lenders DEED works with across the state, to make loans of between $2,500 and $35,000 for qualifying small businesses. The loans will be 50% forgivable, and offered at a 0% interest rate. If other financing becomes available to small businesses that received an emergency loan, such as federal funding, the emergency loan must be repaid. Minnesota small businesses should apply directly through a certified DEED lender

Loan Guarantees ($10 million)

  • Please raise awareness of this program with your local lender
  • More flexibility on the use of RLFs funded by state MIF repayments (Exec. Order and Legislation
  • Program flexibility is available through June 30, 2020

The program will provide an 80% guarantee up to a maximum of $200,000, therefore the maximum loan amount in the loan guarantee program would be $250,000. The program will be open for up to 12 months from the declaration of the peacetime emergency under Executive Order 20-01 on March 13. All loans will be made by lenders enrolled in the Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Program. No loans will come directly from DEED. Eligible lenders include banks or other commercial lenders, public entities, or private nonprofit economic development organizations whose headquarters are located in Minnesota.

Important Update on Applying for Unemployment Insurance Benefits in Minnesota

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 received an emergency declaration by the SBA related to COVID-19.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Loan Advance

Update 5/4/2020 – As of May 4, the SBA announced it will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. 
EIDL is a direct loan from SBA for up to $2 million at 3.75% for 30 years Applicants may also apply for a loan advance of up to $10,000. The $10,000 advance funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
To access the advance, first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advancemay be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.
How to Apply
You can apply for an EIDL Advance with the SBA – You can visit an SBA resource partner who can help guide you through the loan application process. You can find your nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Women’s Business Center here.

If I have applied for, or received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) related to COVID-19 before the Paycheck Protection Program became available, will I be able to refinance into a PPP loan?

Yes. If you received an EIDL loan related to COVID-19 between January 31, 2020 and the date at which the PPP becomes available, you would be able to refinance the EIDL into the PPP for loan forgiveness purposes. However, you may not take out an EIDL and a PPP for the same purposes. Remaining portions of the EIDL, for purposes other than those laid out in loan forgiveness terms for a PPP loan, would remain a loan. If you took advantage of an emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000, that amount would be subtracted from the amount forgiven under PPP.

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.

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

If you are looking for additional information to support local business, check out the links below to the Chamber of Commerce Fargo Moorhead West Fargo and the Fargo Moorhead Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

Chamber COVID-19 Information

FM CVB COVID-19 Information