Information & Resources for Downtowns during COVID-19

Funding Links

Here you'll find funding resources independent from state and local government.

The City of New Braunfels has approved an allocation of funds to assist Downtown businesses in the development of e-commerce systems.  With the recent rise in curbside and to-go retail, the transition to e-commerce has become a more important aspect of retail operations in Downtown. 

This grant provides a reimbursement of up to $2000 for businesses that add an e-commerce component to their business operations.  The grant will reimburse up to $2000 of costs associated with the set-up and first year subscription to an e-commerce platform.  

In addition to new e-commerce project undertakings, businesses who have already established an e-commerce function in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (projects undertaken after March 15, 2020) may apply for reimbursement.

LiftFund - The San Antonio based Community Development Finance Institution has partnered with Goldman Sachs on a $50 million fund for small business loans. The application has been temporarily closed but business owners may complete an interest form if additional funding comes available.

Small Business Relief Fund - GoFundMe

Small Business Recovery Fund - Verizon

Business for All - Hello Alice

Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund - The Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Support Local is an initiative by Gannett, a news media corporation that includes USA Today and multiple other brands. Businesses  and customers can add businesses located anywhere in the US.

Creative Capital - This organization is supportive of all the creative sectors. Staff have been compiling resources for artists, writers, freelancers, and more. 

Facebook is offering $100 million in grants for ad credits and cash support. 

MusiCares - The Recording Academy and its foundation MusiCares have announced creation of the COVID-19 Fund to support the music industry.

Austin Creative Alliance has established The Artists Emergency Relief Fund to help artists in Greater Austin maintain their personal and financial stability. Artists may apply for up to $500 to replace verifiable lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, and are subject to approval and available funds.

Resources for Small Businesses

This section includes links to information about preparedness and recovery, marketing, advice for owners, and more. 

General Links

Tourism Currents has a great blog post about opening an online store.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance
has a small business toolkit.

Small Business Relief Programs
- Forbes

Google for Small Business
has tips for updating digital profiles and communicating with customers and employees.

Building Owners and Managers Association International - Coronavirus Resource Center with information for tenants and building owners and managers.

NextDoor shared some ideas for how small business owners can stay connected to customers.

Kaufman Family Foundation - Guide for small businesses

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- This legislation took effect on April 1, 2020 and will impact small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees can apply for exemption.

Kaiser Family Foundation - summary of key provisions

National Law Review
  - tips for small business owners

US Chamber of Commerce
- what you need to know

Temporary Assistance for Restaurant & Bar Employees

Furlough Kitchen in Dallas is a nonprofit providing meals to hospitality industry workers.

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation – List of resources

Southern Smoke is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering support to the food and beverage industry in crisis. The organization was founded in 2017. Application

Texas Restaurant Relief Fund was started by the Texas Restaurant Association.

US Chamber of Commerce

Small Business Preparedness Expanded Guide

Small Business Disaster Recovery Guide

Coronavirus Response Toolkit from the US Chamber of Commerce

3/50 Project
- Free graphics and information.

American Independent Business Alliance - Free graphics and information.

Resources for Local Governments

The Texas Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program offers funding for Texas communities. Municipalities must apply via the e-Grants website. Detailed information from Governor's Office about the CESF Program maybe downloaded from this page.

Manual of Aid to State and Local Governments under the CARES Act
- updated guide

DRAFT Stiumulus Ordinance - City of Fate. According to City of Fate staff, the funding sources are a Type 4B Corporation (under 20,000 population) and an MDD which provide a lot more flexibility per Texas State Law than a 4A.

Federal Agencies

Here's a list of federal agencies with resources that will be key in the near future.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA assistance will be available to municipalities related to costs associated with the COVID-19 response.

On behalf of the Texas Municipal League, the law firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP has prepared a memo outlining the process for Texas municipaliites to apply.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Visit this website for information about support for artists and arts organizations.

NEA CARES Act Funding for Art Jobs and Arts Organizations

Small Business Administration (SBA)
Texas has been certified for disaster loans for small businesses. Use this link to start the application process.

Click here to view a presentation (slides) from the SBA about disaster loans, how to apply, and more.
Click here to get an overview of the different assistance types.

Texas State Agencies & Organizations

Here you'll find links to state agencies and other statewide organizatiaons so you can connect with available resources.

State Agencies
Texas Governor's Office

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
Download - Chart of license types and permitted activities

Texas Department of Agriculture

Texas Division of Emergency Management

Texas Department of State Health Services
Download - Guidance for Employers, Employees, and Customers of Reopened Retail Services

Texas Music Office - grants and loans for music industry

Texas Workforce Commission

Statewide Organizations
Association for Rural Communities in Texas

Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives

Texas Economic Development Council
Webinar slides: Assisting Small Businesses During Turbulent Times

Texas Hotel Lodging Association

Texas Municipal League

Texas Restaurant Association

Texas Travel Alliance

National Organizations

International Downtown Association

International Economic Development Council
Restore Your Economy: Resources for Economic Development
COVID-19 Webinars
- slides available for current webinar series

Main Street America - Resources for all downtown and commercial districts
MSA Small Business Report - Survey results from over 5,000 small businesses

National Council of Nonprofits

Ideas from other communities


The Single Mother's Alliance offers an opportunity to support single moms by using thier delivery services for groceries or food delivery.

A local design group has created  the Y'allmanac to help Austinites support local businsses.

Bastrop EDC has created a packet of information related to the development of their small business grant program including details about how they were able to work within existing legal framework to allow direct support to local businesses.

The City of Rowlett has started the Rowlett Business Stimulus Grant Program to provide immediate, short term assistance to small businesses.

The Still Budaful Stimulus Plan was developed by the City of Buda and the Buda EDC to assist local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

LOVE HUTTO 2020 is a community-based campaign to care for and support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. Purchase the Love Hutto 2020 shirt for $10, and Everything Hippo will make a $5 donation to Helping Hands For Hutto or the Hutto Resource Center. Any additional items purchased will be matched with a donation, making a $10 donation and providing two meals!

The Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraging its members to "maximize downtime for a more powerful comeback" with ideas of how to keep employees working and support other local small businesses.

Backstage Graphics in Longview is printing t-shirts featuring local business logos and sharing profits with the local businesses. #HereforGoodETX is their hashtag.

Historic Downtown McKinney
is using their electric passenger shuttle to deliver food and more from downtown businesses to local residents.

Blue Baker in College Station is selling Baker Bonds, to be redeemed in the future, as a way to support their staff and business now.

The Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce in Waco has created a community-wide small business bingo game. Customers are invited to connect 5 squares and be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift basket.

Denton Main Street is maintaining a list on their website of downtown business offerings and hours.

Corpus Christi Downtown Management District and the City of Waxahachie are allowing downtown businesses to block spaces for curbside pickup. CivicBrand has created blank Instagram story templates for both cities/districts and customers of small businesses. Just add your location tag at top and then tag local businesses.
City/District version

Resident/Customer version

Forney EDC is sponsoring meals for first responders via local restaurants.

Commercial Bank of Texas is extending payments and working with small businesses owners during the crisis in communities across the state.

Freckericksburg City Manager Kent Myers has relaxed code enforcement of certain regulationsthat don't impact public health or safety, like allowing businesses to erect banners to advertise to go and delivery food options without acquiring a permit from the City.

Rosalind Coffee in Downtown Garland has started a program that allows customers to sponsor barista shifts or donate tips to staff.

Mexia EDC created a graphic with tips for small businesses and their digital profile.

Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation is splitting the tab on employee lunches for small business for orders of $100 or more. (Does not include alcohol or gratuity).

Something Social in Georgetown is creating prints of the small businesses in the area. All proceeds from sales go to support the businesses.

Another Georgetown resident created an extensive list of what restaurants are offering take out and delivery services.

Round Rock has started a fund to support local small businesses. The City, Round Rock Community Foundation, Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, and Dell Technologies each contributed $25,000 and encourage the community to contribute as well.

Other States

Visit Beaufort (SC) has created a scavenger hunt featuring local landmarks. Find them on Instagram @visit_beaufortsc.

Corinth (MS) has created a mile long walking tour featuring 60 different sights. They've developed a pdf guide that people can download from their website.

The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce (IA) started a campaign called Buy-In Clear Lake to encourage support for local businesses. When a customer spends $20 they get a gift card for $30. The program is being supported by other residents and businesses. So far they've raised over $25,000 for small businesses.

The #RustonGiftCardChallenge (Ruston, LA) is an online campaign to support local. Individuals are challenged to buy a gift card from a local business, share on social media, and challenge two friends to do the same.

A Louisiana grocery chain is featuring dishes from shuttered New Orleans restaurants.

Rally for Restaurants encourages people to purchase gift cards from local restaurants and challenge friends to do the same.

Multiple cities across the US have developed programs to assist local artists, as outlined in this article from Next City

The Newberg Support Local Challenge
(Newberg, OR) is offering utility rebates to reward shopping local.

Other communities are sharing information about what products businesses have in stock and how customers can arrange delivery or curbside pickup.

We are compiling different ideas that can be shared among downtowns. Email us to share what's working in your community so we can add to the list.

Job Opportunities

Economic Development Director
Gonzales EDC

Main Street/Tourism Director
City of Corsicana

Economic Development and Main Street Coordinator
City of Pilot Point

Goliad EDC

Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce

We are happy to share downtown related job openings for members at no cost.  Contact the TDA office for more information.