Chippewa County offers COVID relief funding

Danae Milbrandt

Through allocations made by Governor Tim Walz, Chippewa County has received federal funding through the CARES Act and a portion of those funds will be set aside to reimburse small businesses and nonprofit organizations with COVID-related expenses.

These grants are being made available to help businesses located within Chippewa County remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, and applicants may request up to $5,000 in grant funds for expenses incurred between March 1, and Nov. 15, 2020. However, applicants are encouraged to state their full reimbursement expenses, even if they exceed $5,000 in the event additional funding is available.

Businesses who have already applied for COVID relief funding through local, state, or federal funding are not permitted to seek reimbursement for the same expenses through this application. Related programs include, but are not limited to, the Small Business Administration (SBA), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), State of MN DEED grant or loan program, City of Montevideo or City of Clara City grant program.

There will be two rounds of the application process. The first round will begin on Sept. 16 and will go through Oct. 15 at 4 p.m., and the second round of applications will be accepted beginning at 8 p.m. on Oct. 16 and will close at 4 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Those selected will be presented to the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners for final approval at the end of October as well as the end of November, either by regular board meeting or a special board meeting.

All applicants will be contacted regarding the status of their application. If selected, applicants must submit a W-9 to receive their grant award. Applications must be submitted online through the Chippewa County website, and incomplete applications will not be accepted. Failure to submit required supporting expense documentation will result in an incomplete application. All eligible applications will be considered until the county’s grant funds are depleted.

The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners reserves the right to modify the rules and processes pertaining to the grant program, and retain final authority to determine if an applicant is eligible, whether to approve a grant, as well as the amount of the grant award.

To be eligible, businesses must have a physical location, either owned or leased within Chippewa County. They also must have been in operation as of March 1, 2020, and must be current on property taxes prior to May 15, 2020. Businesses must also provide proof of eligible expenses with the application in order to be considered. Expenses must not have been reimbursed through any other local, state, or federal program.

The grant may be used to reimburse applicants for:

• the cost of constructing either temporary or permanent outdoor facilities to allow service to customers with proper social distancing;

• the cost of conversion to a sidewalk, parking lot or open area adjacent to a dining facility to accommodate additional additional outdoor seating;

• the acquisition of chairs, tables, and stands for an outdoor seating area;

• the acquisition of signage relating to the operation of the business in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines;

• new or enhanced marketing efforts, such as website development or online ordering applications;

• the installation of screens and buffers to allow for proper social distancing practices;

• costs associated with the reduction of seating in public places to comply with social distancing guidelines, including the costs of storage facilities for excess seating until restrictions are lifted;

• costs incurred to cordon off public spaces regarding social distancing requirements; costs of computer hardware necessary to support remote work by employees;

• costs of software purchased to support remote work by employees or upgrades to existing internet presence to support expanded e-commerce;

• installation of enhanced sanitation equipment for employees and customers;

• costs to purchase necessary masks, gloves, face shields, or protective garments to protect against the spread of the virus;

• the cost of disinfectant supplies and materials as well as supplies necessary for proper hygiene of employees and customers;

• the purchase of equipment needed to dispense disinfectants;

• the cost of contracts necessary for the disinfection of facilities and equipment.

Alternatively, the grant cannot be used for salaries, fringe, and related costs of staff required to operate the business, costs related to the loss of revenue from lack of sales, cancelation of orders or cancelation of contracts, and property tax payments.

If Chippewa County has not allocated all of their grant funds by Round 2, the county will also consider mortgage and rent payments made between March 1 and Nov. 15, 2020, as well as utilities including water, sewer, garbage, recycling, internet, phone/cell phone, electric, and natural gas as eligible for reimbursement upon submission of statements.

Applicants are asked to submit these expenses in their Round 1 application, which will be held for consideration in Round 2.

Applicants will be required to certify the following on their application:

• The submitting signature has the authority to apply on behalf of the business.

• They were adversely affected by COVID-19 between March 1 and Nov. 15, 2020.

• They are eligible, they were operational pre-COVID-19, and they are suffering negative impacts due to the virus.

• Expenditures requested for reimbursement were expended to address the impact of the pandemic.

• Expenses claimed in the application have not been reimbursed, or are pending reimbursement.

• They are not prohibited from doing business with the federal government or state of Minnesota as a result of debarment or suspension proceedings. • Agree to cooperate with Chippewa County, or appropriate officials for grant auditing purposes.

• Chippewa County is authorized to make all inquiries deemed necessary to verify the accuracy of information within the application.

• They agree to notify the county if any subsequent changes will affect the accuracy of the submitted information.

• It is a crime to submit false information in requesting this grant, and the grantee declares under penalty of perjury that all information provided is correct.

• They agree to repay the grant if the award is found to violate the CARES Act. They acknowledge that the IRS has stated that a government grant is not excluded from the business’s gross income and is taxable.

• That the information submitted is subject to the MN Data Practices Act, therefore information such as the business name, address, and amount of assistance received is public data.

To complete the application, visit <>.

Those with questions may contact the Chippewa County Courthouse at (320) 269-7447, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or email