COVID-19 Update Letter: Main Street Relief Fund Launches; Stay at Home 2.0 and Reopening Updates

Main Street Relief Fund Launches; Stay at Home 2.0 and Reopening Updates

A note from GMC CEO & President, Michael Skelton


Dear Chamber Members,

As more parts of our community and state reopen, please remember to be kind and patient with one another. Remind your family and friends of the same and how those working to provide us with the services that have been closed for weeks (i.e. retail, outdoor dining, personal care) are doing so in an evolving and unfamiliar environment as they try to implement and follow new procedures intended to help make us all safer.

The social distancing and safety protocols businesses are implementing may result in a slower or different experience. It is important we embrace this change and show our appreciation, not frustration, for their efforts to adhere to important requirements that will help ensure we do not squander all of the progress we have collectively achieved in “flattening the curve” over the past two months.

There are simple things we can each do to help and show support. If a business asks customers to wear a mask, please wear one. Follow the social distancing guidelines they have created for their business. Finally, be kind and understanding in the process – a meaningful mindset that will make the jobs of those serving us easier and make us all safer.

State of NH Main Street Relief Fund Launches – Business Prequalification Due May 29th
Governor Sununu made several major announcements on Friday regarding the allocation of nearly $600 million in CARES Act funding to several funds and programs intended to provide emergency relief to those impacted by COVID-19.

Friday’s announcement included the Main Street Relief Fund for small businesses, Healthcare Relief Fund, Non-Profit Relief Fund, Child Care Relief Fund, Farm and Food Fund, Public Higher Education Relief Fund, and Business Finance Authority Safe Harbor Forgivable Loans.

The Main Street Relief Fund received the largest allocation of funding with an allotment of $400,000,000. The fund’s purpose is to provide emergency financial relief to small for-profit businesses impacted by COVID-19.  I encourage all Chamber members impacted by COVID-19 to consider this program and submit a prequalification as soon as you are able.

In order to provide the most effective relief as quickly as possible, small businesses seeking to obtain relief from this fund will first be required to provide information concerning their possible COVID-19-related lost revenues and receipt of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans or any other federal relief. This information will be used to determine appropriate relief criteria and amounts to meet the needs of eligible small businesses, including whether the initial $400 million is appropriate or needs to be changed.  In order to be eligible, a business must have its principal place of business in New Hampshire and must have generated less than $20 million in revenue during the 2019 tax year.

Businesses can submit their prequalification to receive support from this fund here. Every eligible small business seeking to obtain relief must submit the prequalification form with all required information by May 29, 2020. See here for an overview of the prequalification information and important dates and deadlines for the program.

Stay at Home 2.0 & Reopening Taskforce
Progress continues with the State’s “Reopening Taskforce” and further adjustments to the Stay at Home 2.0 emergency order.

The taskforce will meet each day this week at 1:30 pm (members of the public can call-in) and likely will be discussing and voting on additional guidance documents to allow additional businesses and entities to reopen.

Aside from the industry specific guidance, I encourage all Chamber members to download and closely study the “universal guidelines” the taskforce and Governor has implemented. These guidelines apply to all businesses and organizations as base-line expectations on how to operate going forward during the pandemic. The Chamber continues to advocate with state officials on the development and implementation of these guidelines in order to ensure they provide clarity and, when appropriate, flexibility.

Small Business Strategy for the “Next Normal”
The Chamber, in partnership with a group of entrepreneurs, recently published a new small business template as a tool to engage small businesses in helping them strategize a path forward and, if helpful, offer advice, guidance, or the opportunity to share their success story with others. The template also includes some case studies of local small business that are doing some pretty cool things in this challenging environment.

Check out the Reopening Your Small Business & The Next Normal blog article and Union Leader Business Editor Mike Cote’s column recapping the effort.

Leaders Needed! Apply or Refer a Friend to LGM Today
Perhaps like no time before, our community needs to engage, develop, and cultivate a new generation of leaders who can help support and guide our businesses and the community to recovery.

There is no better opportunity to do that than through Leadership Greater Manchester program. Applications are now open for selection to the Class of 2020-2021 and I would strongly encourage anyone interested in applying or recommending the program to a colleague. Planning and preparations are already underway to ensure the LGM program can operate in the era of “social distancing” and adapt to whatever public health guidelines are in place this fall.

Interest in the LGM program continues to be strong and virtual interviews with applicants are underway, be sure to apply today!

Support Local Dining!
Last week the Chamber was pleased to help make “Manchester Takeout Day” in collaboration with our City partners. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we’ll look to offer similar promotional opportunities going forward.

As many restaurants expand their takeout service to include outdoor dining, remember to support them as much as you can. The Chamber’s Takeout & Delivery list is one-stop shopping for information on where you can grab takeout from or contact a local restaurant to learn about their outdoor dining options. Speaking of shopping, check out our Retail & Goods list too!

Community Conversation this Thursday at 10 am with Mayor Joyce Craig
Mayor Joyce Craig will join methis Thursday at 10 am for a conversation on the state of the city’s respond to COVID-19, efforts to support Manchester small businesses, thoughts on community recovery post-COVID-19 and other related business topics. Attendees will be able to participate in this conversation live and submit questions for Mayor Craig.

Register today and join fellow business and community leaders for our next Community Conversation with Mayor Craig!

My best and be well,


Mike Skelton, President & CEO, GMC