Information & Resources for Downtowns during COVID-19

Funding Links

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

AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant - This fund was designed to assist Texas, woman-owned businesses that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. $1 million (100 grants of $10,000) is available.

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. Click here for information 

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

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

MainVest - If you have an existing business that has been negatively effected by the coronavirus outbreak, you may be eligible to immediately receive a $2,000 zero-interest loan* when you start a capital raise. You can raise over $100,000 of investment from your community on Mainvest. Learn more

Austin Creative Alliance has established The Artists Emergency Relief Fund to help artists in Greater Austin maintain their personal and financial stability in these uncertain times. 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. Click here for information

Resources for Small Businesses

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

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

Corona Virus Main Street Resources - Main Street America

COVID-19 Resources - International Downtown Association

Small Business Relief Programs - Forbes

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

The Kaiser Family Foundation provided a summary of key provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The National Law Review offers tips for small business owners with regard to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

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.

Ideas from other communities

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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
Chart of license types and what activities are currently permitted for each

Texas Department of Agriculture
The Texas Department of Agriculture announced deadline extensions on March 18 for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, the Colonia Fund-Construction, and the Texas Capital Fund.

Texas Division of Emergency Management

Texas Workforce Commission
Latest updates for employers

Latest updates for jobseekers

Statewide Organizations
Association for Rural Communities in Texas

Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives

Texas Economic Development Council

Texas Hotel Lodging Association

Texas Municipal League

Texas Travel Alliance

Job Opportunities

Main Street Manager
City of Gonzales

Economic Development Director
City of Mount Vernon

Executive Director
Goliad Chamber of Commerce

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