(Updated Oct. 15, 2020)
The City of Eugene has created a specialized Business Help Team to assist employers as they seek to keep their businesses afloat by answering questions about financing options, reopening guidelines and other topics. The team is working to be flexible to meet the needs of different businesses as rules change and needs evolve.
Winter is Coming – Updates to the Streatery Program
Eugene’s Streatery program has been extended through the end of April.
- Read more about the program and apply for a permit.
- See a map of all businesses participating in the Streatery Permit program.
Email the City’s Business Help Team if you have questions about the Streatery program.
Small Business and Non-Profit Grants—New Funds Available
The state of Oregon has released funds for its Emergency Business Grant Program, to support businesses that have been hurt by COVID-19. The state has changed its eligibility criteria, so it’s easier for affected employers to receive funds. Businesses that were previously found to be ineligible may be eligible now.
Grants up to $50,000 are available to Oregon businesses with fewer than 25 employees and who have received less than $100,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) awards. To be eligible, the business must meet these requirements:
- The business is headquartered in Oregon and has its principal operations in Oregon.
- The business has 25 or fewer employees.
- The business was adversely affected in either one of the following two ways:
- For-profit and non-profit (limited to 501(c)(3) corporations) businesses that were prohibited from operation as directed by Oregon’s Executive Order 20-12.
- For-profit and non-profit (limited to 501(c)(3) corporations) businesses that can demonstrate a one-month decline in sales of 25% or more, incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 as compared against the same period of time in 2019.
Where to Apply:
Funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Contact the above agencies quickly to determine if your business is eligible.
PPE for Small Businesses and Child Care Providers in Oregon
The state of Oregon has allocated $10 million from the federal CARES Act funding for the purchase of protective equipment. The state of Oregon is fulfilling orders at no charge until resources are depleted. Small businesses and child care providers can submit orders online.
- Business Recovery Strategies
- Oregon Rules and Guidance on Reopening
- Federal CARES Act & Other Disaster Relief
- Additional Resources
City of Eugene Business Recovery Strategies
Public Spaces for Outdoor Fitness Classes
- Parks: Parks and Open Space is adapting the low-cost park rental program to make it easier for local businesses and organizations to rent spaces for health and fitness activities. If approved, businesses can reserve space for up to two hours per day, five days a week for $40 per month. The standard $150 deposit has been temporarily waived. This program will be evaluated on an ongoing basis to determine whether it is having a positive impact on long-term recovery efforts. Security deposits will be waived through at least October 15, 2020. Learn more about the Park Rental Program.
- Parking Garages and Sidewalks: In early August, the Downtown Athletic Club began offering something unusual – outdoor exercise and spin classes. An agreement with the City allows the club to use the upper levels of the adjacent Overpark public parking garage for exercise classes. The City also permitted the DAC to offer spin sessions on the public sidewalk in front of the Willamette Street athletic club. Contact Operations Manager Travis Hargitt about using City parking garages and the City’s Business Help Team about sidewalk permits.
Kesey Square “Food Hall”
As part of the City’s reopening and recovery efforts, the Downtown Ambassadors have re-opened Kesey Square to offer space for the public to sit, eat lunch and order food from downtown restaurants and food carts. Tables and chairs are out from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and sanitized regularly, spaced 6-feet apart. Masks are required when physical distancing is not possible.
Parking Accommodations to Support Carry-Out Customers and Delivery Companies
City of Eugene’s Parking Services created a new service for restaurants and business owners open for carry-out and delivery orders. Businesses can request the designation of 1-2 parking spots in front of their location to provide a dedicated free parking spot for carry-out customers and/or delivery companies. This service is free for the business and free for the customers. To request this new service please email email@example.com. See a map of the businesses that are using this service.
City Distributed Free KN95 Masks to Support Local Small Businesses
The City of Eugene’s Planning and Development received close to 28,000 KN95 masks from Business Oregon to help support local businesses as they reopen and continue serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with under 50 employees qualified to receive up to 80 free masks. Nearly 20,000 KN95 masks were previously delivered to small businesses in Downtown Eugene. Lane County also received a supply of masks and distributed them throughout the County. They anticipate that more masks will arrive in sometime in the future.
Statewide Requirements for Face Coverings and Businesses
- Face coverings are required at all times for employees in public and private office spaces, including hallways, bathrooms, elevators, lobbies, break rooms, and other common spaces, unless employees are at individual work spaces or in meeting rooms where six (6) feet of distance from other people can be consistently maintained
- Face coverings are required for age 5 and up
- Face coverings are now required when exercising indoors, plus outdoors when you can’t physically distance
- Restaurants and bars must close at 10 p.m. statewide, regardless of phase
- Capacity limit for restaurants, gyms, venues (e.g. concert halls, movie theaters) is reduced to 100 people indoors, including staff
See Face Covering Guidance to learn about requirements for businesses.
Lane County Currently in Phase 2
Lane County was approved to move into Phase 2 beginning June 5, 2020. In Phase 2, businesses can continue the gradual reopening process, following updated health and safety guidelines. See our Reopening Oregon page for additional details about Phase 2 and links to the Oregon Health Authority’s sector guidelines.
Oregon Health Authority offers downloadable signage in multiple languages to post at your business: “Clean hands save lives,” “Going out? Stay apart,” “Do you have these symptoms?,” "Why sign in?" and “Masks Required.”
Back to Business Guide
The Eugene and Springfield Area Chambers of Commerce have partnered to provide the new Back to Business Guide, a resource to help businesses navigate the state and county’s new guidelines. The document provides industry-specific, simplified guidelines about preparing a physical space, physical distancing procedures, required safety provisions and best practices, and more. The document will be updated as the State of Oregon and other entities release additional guidance.
Answers to Questions about Bringing Employees Back to Work
The Oregon Employment Department has answers to frequently asked questions from businesses regarding resuming business operations and unemployment insurance benefits.
Commercial Eviction Ban
On April 1, 2020, Governor Brown issued Executive Oregon 20-13, which places a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions for nonpayment, in light of the impacts on business owners caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This order will help Oregon small businesses stay in their locations without the threat of eviction.
Grants available through Oregon Cares Fund
The members of the Oregon Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus worked to create the Oregon Cares Fund. The fund invests in Black people, Black-owned businesses and Black-led community-based organizations. Grants will vary in size for individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits, depending on the information submitted in the application. Individuals and families may be eligible to receive grants of $1,000, $2,000 or $3,000, depending on financial impacts of COVID-19 and family size. Learn more and apply.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Recipients do not have to be approved for a loan in order to receive the advance, but the amount of the loan advance will be deducted from total loan eligibility. SBA is now accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses. Learn more and apply online.
The new eligibility for U.S. agricultural businesses is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined
PPP Loans, EIDL Advances, SBA Loan Subsidies Not Subject to Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax (CAT)
The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not ‘commercial activity’ under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax. The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. Read the news release for more details.
Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
On April 24, Congress approved and the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provides $484 billion in COVID-19-related aid to businesses and hospitals, and money to expand testing. The legislation adds $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and $60 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and grant program. This Act expands funding that had been made available to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed on March 27, 2020.
Businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to contact financial institutions and the U.S. Small Business Administration to learn about the programs and how to apply for the loans and grants.
The Small Business Administrate and U.S. Department of Treasury have answers to frequently asked questions (released April 23).
Some of the key elements that affect businesses in the Eugene area:
Paycheck Protection Program
This program expands the ability to obtain loans under the Small Business Act. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees and non-profits organized as 501(c)(3)s can apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration-guaranteed funds, which are intended to help businesses stay open and keep employees on payroll.
Businesses can apply through SBA 7 (a) lenders or through any federally insured depository institution, federal insured credit union or Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Businesses should consult with local lenders to learn if they are participating in the program.
Employee Retention Tax Credits
Businesses are eligible for an employee retention tax credit if operations were fully or partially suspended because of a COVID-19 shutdown order, or gross receipts declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year. Eligible businesses can get a refundable 50% tax credit on wages up to $10,000 per employee, or $5,000. The credit can be obtained on wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020. Businesses that receive a Paycheck Protection loan are ineligible for the tax credit.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has posted updated FAQs providing answers regarding the Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act. The Employee Retention Credit encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
- The US Chamber of Commerce provides a summary of the CARES Act’s provisions.
Lane County’s Business Information web page has information about federal and state resources. The County is the primary connection for our region to verify state and federal resources.
Eugene Water & Electric Board
EWEB has implemented measures to support commercial and residential customers experiencing economic hardship. Contact EWEB Customer Service at 541-685-7000 to set up flexible payment arrangements and to suspend late fees. If you have a commercial energy-efficiency loan with EWEB, they are able to defer those loan payments upon request by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For firms that cannot avoid layoffs, business owners should inform their employees in some form of writing that they are closing and all employees are laid off until further notice. This provides the workers with documentation to claim unemployment insurance. The Oregon Office of Workforce Investment encourages businesses to file a WARN notice when they are laying off staff. The State is tracking these, so it has a sense of the scope of layoffs and can provide that information to federal agencies.
The Oregon Employment Department is working to ensure people have access to the most current guidance for employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Please visit the Department’s COVID-19 employment-related web page for the latest information. This is the primary resource for information about layoffs and unemployment insurance. If it is busy, try again later if you cannot access it.
Work Share program
Businesses that are cutting hours of their employees can take advantage of Oregon’s Work Share program, which enables a flexible response to a layoff situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial unemployment insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers’ reduced wages.
Keeping Business Open and Safe
Lane Business Link is an online portal created by Lane Community College's Small Business Development Center Lane Business Link brings together resource partners in a searchable database for businesses throughout Lane County. It connects businesses to resources, advisers, funding, and education. Lane Business Link also monitors the business support ecosystem, convenes regular summits of its partners, and shares educational opportunities and information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has resources for businesses and employers to keep workspaces safe.
The Oregon Home Builders Association (OHBA) and multiple state agencies partnered on a news release on COVID-19 jobsite recommendations for the construction industry. The site also has a COVID-19 web page with more information for contractors.
The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership has opened grant funding for businesses that are retooling to supply COVID-19 related products or supplies, including personal protective equipment, or PPE. Manufacturers who are interested in retooling to meet critical supply needs, build innovative products, or who need workforce training to meet COVID-19 demands can email OMEP’s Jasmine Agnor.
The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) also has COVID-19 resources, including information on managing supply chains, business continuity and financial resources. OMEP has scheduled an ongoing series of free webinars devoted to COVID-19 and manufacturing.
Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Small Business Recovery Program provides utility bill payment assistance for business and non-profit customers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. EWEB’s program offers those who have accrued a past-due balance two different repayment options for bringing their accounts up to date over time.
For Food Service Businesses
Changes to Beer, Wine, and Cider Rules
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has made a few changes to try and soften the blow for our licensees. Delivery of Beer, Wine, and Cider is a privilege that licensees can apply for, and that application process has been streamlined. The license allows for the delivery of beer, wine, and cider to its parking lot or other adjoining area. The privilege also includes the ability to deliver (same day) to Oregon residents. The OLCC website provides guidance.
Customers can take beer, wine, or cider to go with their meals if the licensee has an Off-Premises license. If a licensee did not have that license type, they are now able to obtain one quickly through OLCC’s licensing department.
Business Emergency Planning
The Lane Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help create an emergency plan for businesses and provide guidance on how to document impacts to your business from COVID-19.
SHINE (Sustainability Hub of Interchange Negotiation Experts) will help you create an emergency plan to deal with the disruption caused by COVID-19. Our experienced staff will also review your current business plan, including an operational assessment and look at management team alignment. SHINE is a program funded through an investment from the Lane Workforce Partnership through state layoff aversion funds.
Telecommuting and Cyber-Security
In response to COVID-19, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked broadband and telephone service providers to do what they can to keep residents and small businesses connected. Over 400 companies and associations have signed the pledge to not terminate services, waive late fees, and open Wi-Fi hotspots. For more information, visit the Keep Americans Connected website.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the Nation’s risk advisor, working with partners to defend against today’s threats and collaborating to build more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future. On March 13, 2020, CISA released an alert encouraging organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity when implementing alternate workplace options for their employees. Remote work options – or telework – require an enterprise virtual private network (VPN) solution to connect employees to an organization’s information technology (IT) network. CISA encourages public and private sector organizations to sign-up for Vulnerability Scanning.
The Oregon Community Foundation has established the Oregon Community Recovery Grant program to support nonprofits affected by COVID-19. Nonprofit Association of Oregon has collected information to help non-profits affected by COVID-19, including resources for business continuity and funding opportunities.
- The not-for-profit State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) has established a Coronavirus worker safety fund. It is designed to promote employee safety, reduce injuries, and decrease exposures by helping SAIF policyholders impacted by the Coronavirus. The fund will help pay for expenses tied to preventing the spread of Coronavirus at businesses or mitigating other Coronavirus-related costs.
- Travel Oregon has put together a toolkit for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries. The toolkit includes communication materials and business resources.
- The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce has multiple resources to help businesses navigate this situation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put together a small business guide for businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.
- Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, offers financial and other guidance on topics such as financing, childcare, and free and discounted business coaching. They have also put together a Survival Tips guide for businesses.
- The Oregon Department of Revenue has guidance on COVID-19 tax relief options, with information on the personal and corporate income tax and the corporate activity tax.
- The Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs can help minority small businesses in identifying appropriate sources of financing for COVID-19 challenges.
- The Oregon Economic Development Association has a COVID-19 resources page and Business Survival Tips During a Pandemic.
- The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and PBA Charities have created a new fund, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, and will provide $500 to licensed beauty professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19.