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Michigan restaurants can reopen indoor dining with limited capacity, curfew on Feb. 1

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released its next epidemic order which will go into effect on Monday, February 1 and will last three weeks, until Sunday, February 21.

Due to continued improvements in case rates, hospitalizations and percent positivity, several changes have been made in the new order allowing for:

  • indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements;
  • concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums;
  • personal services requiring mask removal; and,
  • non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.




$55 Million Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program to Open Application Jan. 19

The Michigan Strategic Fund today approved the $55 million Michigan Small Business Survival Grant program to meet the urgent need of Michigan small businesses that have experienced a significant financial hardship due to the recent COVID-19 emergency “gatherings and face mask orders.” The program was part of Senate Bill 748 signed into law by Governor Whitmer on Dec. 29, 2020.

The application period for the grant will open at 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 19 and run through Noon EST on Friday, Jan. 22. Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to businesses that are fully closed, with grants of up to $15,000 awarded to businesses that have been partially closed, or otherwise are open and can demonstrate an impact. All applications received during this period will be reviewed by the 15 economic development organizations, representing all 83 counties, that will serve as the administrators of these grants; funding is not first come, first serve.

Details on program guidelines, eligibility requirements and resources to help businesses prepare for the application process ahead of time are available at

Round 2 of the Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loan

The $900 billion Stimulus Relief Bill contains $284 billion for a second round of loans to small businesses under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The program helps businesses harmed by the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yes! businesses can receive a second loan called a second draw if they have spent the entire amount of the first loan on or before the date the second loan is disbursed.

The loans will be made through SBA‑approved lenders and guaranteed by the SBA. So businesses must apply to those lenders by filling out the application forms provided by the bank. It’s a good idea for applicants to check first with banks they already have relationships with to see if they will be making PPP loans.

Click the links for more information about the program.

Governor Announces Employee Assistance Grants

January 13, 2021

Governor Whitmer announced employee assistance grants for those whose employment at entertainment and recreational venues and restaurants. This grant program puts dollars in the pocket of Michiganders who work in hospitality, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services sectors — as well as the gym and fitness sectors. This grant program helps offset some of the financial losses they may have incurred due to a furlough, layoff or job loss, or a reduction of hours. Here are a few top lines about the grant program:

  1. Eligible individuals can apply for one-time grants of up to $1,650.
  2. There’s a 10-day window to apply for this grant – from January 15 to January 25 (so please don’t wait to apply when this grant program opens on Friday).
  3. For details regarding the application process, go to www.MRLAEF.ORG/MONEY
  4. Applications will be processed through February and payments will be issued in March.

The State of Michigan Has Allocated $100 Million of CARES Act Funding to Implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program

In an effort to support Michigan small businesses that were negatively impacted by COVID-19, the State of Michigan has issued $100 million of CARES Act funding towards the Michigan Small Business Restart Program through Senate Bill 690.

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved the distribution of grant funding across 15 local or non-profit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state. Our community is highly honored that Middle Michigan Development Corporation was one of the 15 EDOs selected to assist in this process.

There will be a single, statewide application for the Michigan Small Business Restart Program that will open on July 15, 2020 and run through August 5, 2020. The application is available online at Applicants can apply for up to $20,000 in grant funds.

Eligibility Requirements

Businesses and nonprofits located in Michigan, with 50 or fewer employees worldwide, and that have NOT received a grant under the first round of the Michigan Small Business Relief Program (MSBRP) are eligible to apply. Businesses must also demonstrate the following:

  • Be part of an industry or nonprofit that can demonstrate it has been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Demonstrated need for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses.
  • Demonstrate an income loss as a result of the COVID-19 emergency as determined by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF).

Businesses interested in applying can review full grant eligibility requirements, program guidelines and a list of frequently asked questions on At least 30 percent of the funds awarded under this program will be provided to women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned eligible businesses.

The MMDC office is available to help answer any questions you may have regarding this program. Please feel free to call them at (989) 772-2858 or email at Additionally, please free to pass this information on to any businesses in our area that may be interested in applying.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Residents of Michigan Affected by Severe Storms and Flooding

Businesses and residents in the declared disaster area can now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The disaster declaration covers Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland and Saginaw counties in Michigan, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Alcona, Bay, Clare, Genesee, Gratiot, Isabella, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Roscommon, Shiawassee and Tuscola in Michigan.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

In accordance with health precautions for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the SBA will not establish a field presence to assist survivors. However, SBA will continue to provide first-class customer service and conduct outreach virtually with webinars, skype calls, phone assistance and step-by-step application assistance. As a result, SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center/Business Recovery Center (VDLOC/VBRC) to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at and there are virtual customer support representatives available to assist applicants with completing the online application.

Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center/Business Recovery Center (VDLOC/VBRC)
Open: Monday – Friday
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed: Saturdays and Sundays
Phone: (571) 422-8013, (571) 422-6016 and (571) 422-0331

These services are only available for the Michigan disaster declaration as a result of the Severe Storms and Flooding on May 16-22, 2020, and not for COVID-19 related assistance.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Sept. 8, 2020. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 9, 2021.


Masks Required in all Indoor Public Spaces, Businesses May Refuse Entry and Service

On Friday, July 10, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces.

Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. The governor signed the order in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country.


Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Closing Indoor Service at Bars Throughout Much of Lower Michigan to Protect Progress Against COVID-19

On Wednesday, July 1, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-143 closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan to protect the progress Michigan has made against COVID-19. Regions 6 and 8, which include the Upper Peninsula and much of northern Michigan, are excluded from the order, and bars statewide can continue to serve outdoors.

The governor’s order applies to establishments with on-premises retailer liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. That means that most brewpubs, distilleries, and vineyards can stay open indoors. Traditional bars, nightclubs, and strip clubs will have to end indoor service. 

Governor Whitmer also signed Senate Bill 942 and House Bills 5781 and 5811 into law, which allow bars and restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go and expand social districts to allow for more outdoor seating and areas for people to safely congregate while practicing physical distancing.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened to All Eligible Small Businesses and Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 on Monday, June 15.


Executive Orders Reopen More Regions, Economic Sectors Under MI Safe Start Plan

On Friday, June 5, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Orders 2020-114 and 2020-115 to reopen more regions and economic sectors under the MI Safe Start Plan.

Starting on June 10, Regions 6 and 8 — which include much of northern Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula — will advance to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan. Phase 5 allows the reopening of salons, movie theaters, and gyms, subject to safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

On June 15, personal services including salons and barbershops, and massage, nail, and tattoo parlors will reopen statewide. Though the remaining regions, 1 through 5 and 7, will remain in Phase 4 under Friday's executive orders, the governor said she expects the entire state will advance to Phase 5 in the coming weeks.

City of Mt. Pleasant Provides Outdoor Business Activity Options

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the changes in current business operations, the Mt. Pleasant City Commission recently adopted a resolution temporarily authorizing outdoor business activities through September 30, 2020. These activities include waiving certain standards and fees for outdoor dining, tent and merchandise display permits.

For more details visit

Governor Rescinds Safer at Home Order, Moves Michigan to Phase Four of the MI Safe Start Plan

On Monday, June 1, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-110, rescinding her Safer at Home order and moving the entire state to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan

The order will allow retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits. Day camps for children will likewise be permitted to open on June 8. Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed to gather outdoors with social distancing. Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume. And in-home services, including housecleaning services, can resume operations. 

Michiganders must continue to wear facial coverings when in enclosed public spaces and should continue to take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community. And they should continue to work from home to the maximum extent possible.

Subject to local regulation, gyms and fitness centers may conduct outdoor classes, practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants maintain six feet of distance from one another during these activities. Outdoor pools can also reopen, with restricted capacity.

New capacity limit guidelines for retailers and bar & restaurant owners can be found in Executive Order 2020-97.

  • If your business is within the City of Mt. Pleasant, and you need assistance determining your standard approved occupancy numbers, contact City Building Official Brian Kench at (989) 779-5301 OR at
  • In addition to new capacity limits, business owners must post signs at store entrance(s) instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering when inside the store, and informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.

Workplace Safety and Re-Opening Resources is one-stop-shop for workplace safety resources as businesses reopen
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) launched a new online COVID-19 Workplace Safety Resources website, which provides guidance and a toolkit of resources to keep workplaces safe as sectors of the state’s economy reopen.
With the continued risk of COVID-19 spread, everyone in the workplace must take necessary precautions. The site includes MIOSHA issued guidelines, posters for employees and customers, factsheets, educational videos and a reopening checklist – all of which will help businesses safely reopening their doors.
In addition to the general workplace guidelines for employers and employees, MIOSHA provided further clarification on necessary steps several other sectors must take when reopening, including:
The site also provides guidance on how employers create and make available to employees and customers, a written exposure control plan, which includes exposure determination and outlines measures that will be taken to prevent employee exposure to COVID-19.
Michigan’s Work Share program allows employers to restart their business and bring employees back from unemployment. Employers can bring employees back with reduced hours - while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Employers can also retain their current workforce and are given the flexibility to choose which of their employees are part of a Work Share plan.
In an effort to help reopening businesses safely reengage in the economy, the MI Symptoms Web Application is a cost-free way for employers to comply with Executive Order 2020-97 and implement a COVID-19 symptoms screening questionnaire for employees.

PMBC Offering Free Procurement Program to Assist Businesses in Accessing Personal Protection Equipment

The Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has developed a portal specifically designed to support the personal protective equipment (PPE) needs of Michigan businesses as they start the process of re-opening.

Through the free PMBC COVID-19 Procurement Platform, the PMBC team will work to connect those businesses in need of access to PPE – including face masks, face shields, gloves, goggles and other materials as necessary to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers – with Michigan businesses that have supplier capacity to meet that demand. Open to companies of all sizes and industries, and is available for all scales of PPE demand.

  • Reopen Main Street Website Launched
    • In partnership with Main Street America, Michigan Main Street and the MEDC have launched a new Reopen Main Street website offering resources, strategies, and assets for downtowns and communities as they plan for their re-openings following the COVID-19 crisis.

MI Safe Start: A Plan to Re-Engage Michigan's Economy

The phases of the pandemic include:

  1. Uncontrolled Growth: Increasing number of new cases every day, likely to overwhelm the health system. Only critical infrastructure remains open.
  2. Persistent Spread: Continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity. Only critical infrastructure remains open, with lower-risk recreational activities allowed.
  3. Flattening: Epidemic is no longer increasing and health system capacity is sufficient for current needs. Specified lower-risk businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.
  4. Improving: Epidemic clearly decreasing and health system capacity is strong with robust testing and contact tracing. Additional businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.
  5. Containing: Epidemic levels are extremely low and outbreaks can be quickly contained. Health system capacity is strong with robust testing and tracing. Most businesses can reopen given adherence to strict safety measures.
  6. Post-Pandemic: Community spread is not expected to return (e.g., because of a vaccine) and the economy is fully reopened.

Paycheck Protection Program Information

President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act into Law (6/5/20)

The Flexibility Act modifies several provisions of the PPP loan program. The major changes, which are intended to expand the number of loans which qualify for forgiveness, include:

  • Giving borrowers 24 weeks to use PPP funds – up from 8 weeks.
  • Reducing the amount of a PPP loan which must be used for payroll in order to qualify for forgiveness from 75 percent to 60 percent. Up to 40 percent can now go to expenses such as rent, mortgage or utility payments.
  • Allowing borrowers to defer payroll taxes.
  • Letting lenders set more flexible repayment terms for loans that don’t qualify for forgiveness.
  • Helping borrowers who show good faith efforts to rehire employees to qualify for loan forgiveness until Dec. 31, 2020.

Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program

  • Link to Michigan Paycheck Protection Program (MiPPP)
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from the U.S. Small Business Administration provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
    • Fully Forgiven | Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
    • Must Keep Employees on the Payroll - or Rehire Quickly | Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
    • All Small Businesses Eligible | Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and independent contractors— are eligible.
    • How to Apply | You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

Consumers Energy Committed to Helping Michigan’s Small Business Community Prosper

  • Consumers Energy can provide meaningful and immediate help by:
    • Working with you on your utility bill
    • Connecting you to potential sources of state and federal relief
    • Providing new business opportunities through the Pure Michigan Business Connect Program

Davenport Offers Free Course to Help Unemployed Land Their Next Job

Davenport University announced they will offer a free, career-focused class to people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

The online course will provide an opportunity for participants to hone their presentation skills, build their resumes, enhance their LinkedIn profiles and earn three college credits. It's a 7-week course and there will be four different sessions with two starting May 6 and two beginning July 1.

Michigan Chamber Offers All COVID-19 Resources at No Charge

  • Webinars | Register for the FREE content here: Future COVID-19 related webinars will be available at no charge in both live and on-demand formats.
  • Posters | There is currently a mandatory update to federal posters in response to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. During the stay at home order, employers should post it in an intranet or email it to all employees. Once the order is lifted it must be posted through December 31.
    • Follow this link to be sure you are in compliance.
  • Full Toolkit | The Michigan Chamber continues to update its toolkit with resources.
To aid in the evaluation of the economic impact of the current situation, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is strongly encouraging participation in an online survey. This survey will be useful by increasing legislature awareness of hardship on YOUR business. The information gathered will be passed onto lawmakers. This survey can be found HERE. Please encourage other business owners to fill it out as well.
For BCBS members, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan has provided the following Group Customer COVID-19 FAQ as part of initiatives designed to help members get the care they need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The FAQ can be accessed HERE.

Chamber Updates, Ways to Support Local & More

Hello Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Members!


In light of our current situation regarding COVID-19 precautions, please note the following changes to our calendar:


  • Business After Hours at Hunter’s Ale House will be RESCHEDULED, Date TBD
  • Legislative Breakfast is RESCHEDULED for Friday, August 21, 7:30 – 9:00 am
  • April Business After Hours at Ascend will be RESCHEDULED, date TBD
  • YPN Statewide Conference is RESCHEDULED for 2021
    • Tentatively Friday, May 14, 2021
  • YPN Social: Hike at Bundy Hill is RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, June 24, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
  • July Annual Chamber Golf Outing is RESCHEDULED for Wednesday, August 26 at Mt. Pleasant Country Club


The Chamber will honor reservations and paid sponsor promotion benefits on the affected dates. Contact us with questions. Future events will be evaluated based on the recommendations of MDHHS.


Ways to Support Local
While there are new restrictions by Governor Whitmer issued March 16, 2020, we strongly encourage you to patronize local business as much as possible!


Many small and local businesses have very low profit margins and this temporary change may harshly impact them. Many businesses will be happy to accommodate a customer if there is any way possible to avoid loss of profit, so please call them to ask what options are available. If none are available, support them on social media by interacting with their pages, by liking and sharing their posts.


The money you save from the imposing of these restrictions can still be used for local business to regain economic loss once the restriction has been lifted.
SPEND if you can, SAVE if you can’t, SHOP later! Keep our local economy going as much as possible.


We are happy to promote through social media promotions that you may have going on despite the situation. If you are still open and able to provide your service, please let us know and we can share the information.

To support your fellow Chamber members, please view our online business directory HERE.

For updates on local events, COVID-19 and economic legislation:
Michigan Chamber of Commerce
State of Michigan
Center for Disease Control
City of Mt. Pleasant

Please follow all proactive state and county health officials’ recommendations in order to decrease the spread of this virus.

Most importantly, remember that the current situation is temporary. Stay positive and find some joys in each day as much as possible. Every storm runs out of rain eventually and we will all get through this! Spring is HERE to be followed by SUMMER so we still have good things to look forward to.
Best to you all and please let us know if we can help with anything,


Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce Staff


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