ST. LOUIS (Dec. 8, 2020) — Spire is offering a new financial assistance option of up to $500 for active, Missouri small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Spire will begin accepting applications for the new Small Business Pandemic Relief Program the week of Dec. 14.
The assistance is crucial as a recent study conducted by Spire of small business customers found 98% have been impacted financially by coronavirus. Many of these small businesses are restaurants working through public health precautions and social distancing practices related to the pandemic.
“Small businesses are an important part of our community, making up almost half of Missouri’s private sector jobs and playing a significant role in the state’s economy,” said Scott Carter, president of Spire Missouri. “We want to do our part to help.”
To be eligible for the program, a business must be an active, Missouri customer in the small general services rate class, be a locally owned business or franchise, and complete an online application. If accepted into the program, small businesses can receive $100 per month for up to five months. The program runs through Sept. 30, 2021, or until funds are exhausted.
“Young’s Restaurant & Catering Company, Inc. has been around since 1954,” said Grant Young, owner of the Valley Park, Missouri establishment. “Even as a longstanding family-owned business, we have felt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Carryout is only 40% of our normal business. We’ve been able to keep everyone employed and our doors open because of support from loyal customers who purchase gift cards and patronize us regularly. As we approach another rough patch, I appreciate Spire stepping up and offering assistance. Every bit helps right now.”
Approved Dec. 2 by the Missouri Public Service Commission, the Small Business Pandemic Relief Program is part of the company’s comprehensive approach to provide relief for customers who are experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. In November, the natural gas provider began offering up to $400 in assistance for Missouri residential customers who have been furloughed or experienced job or income loss and have an outstanding balance on their Spire account. Additionally, Spire previously launched one-time credit assistance programs for both Missouri residential and small business customers.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been committed to ensuring our community maintains access to affordable, reliable, clean natural gas,” said Carter. “We encourage customers who are struggling to call us. We are here to help.”
To apply or learn more about the new program or other ways Spire is helping customers impacted by the pandemic, visit SpireEnergy.com/relief.
At Spire Inc. (NYSE: SR), we believe energy exists to help make people’s lives better. It’s a simple idea, but one that’s at the heart of our company. Every day we serve 1.7 million homes and businesses making us the fifth largest publicly traded natural gas company in the country. We help families and business owners fuel their daily lives through our gas utilities serving Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Our natural gas-related businesses include Spire Marketing, Spire STL Pipeline and Spire Storage. We are committed to transforming our business through growing organically, investing in infrastructure, and advancing through innovation. Learn more at SpireEnergy.com.
JEFFERSON CITY — July 14, 2020 Governor Mike Parson announced $50 million in new grant programs for Missouri businesses.
“The COVID-19 crisis has severely impacted Missouri businesses,” Governor Parson said. “However, this challenge has not stopped them from stepping up and finding new ways to serve Missourians. These critical programs will help Missouri businesses continue their operations, cover costs for increased PPE production, and keep them safe and moving forward.”
“This virus isn’t going away, and we have to protect both the lives and the livelihoods of Missouri workers, families, and children,” Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “Thanks to today’s action by the Governor, we are not only reinvesting in our economy but building up the success and safety of our state over the long term.”
$30 Million Small Business Grant Program
The Small Business Grant Program was developed to provide relief to small businesses and family-owned farms for reimbursement of business interruption costs due to the COVID-19 crisis.
This program is available to for-profit businesses and family-owned farms that employ 50 or fewer employees. Funds can be used to cover facility redesign and labor, air filtration systems, e-commerce website design, worker salaries during closure or reduced hours, and necessary costs to make the business more resilient as a result of COVID-19, among others.
“We know that every segment of agriculture has felt the tremendous impact of COVID-19 and will for many years,” Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn said. “We have continuously worked with Governor Parson and colleagues across state government— including DED and the General Assembly – to provide support for the unmet needs of Missouri’s family-owned farms and ranches.”
$20 Million PPE Retooling Grant Program
The PPE Production Grant Program is designed to increase production of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The new program will help companies produce PPE in Missouri as part of the state’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan.
This program assists manufacturers by awarding grant funds to reimburse companies facing high PPE production costs. Eligible uses for awarded funds under the PPE Production Grant Program include purchasing equipment and retooling, upgrading, or expanding facilities to increase PPE production.
Funding for these programs comes from the CARES Act. The programs will be administered through the Department of Economic Development. Businesses interested in the programs can learn more and apply at showmestrong.mo.gov.
The St. Louis Port Authority is sponsoring the Small Business Resource Discretionary Grant Program through the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. This new St. Louis County program will give $500 discretionary grants to help sole proprietors, contract workers, gig workers, 1099 workers, and other businesses who do not qualify for our Small Business Resource Program (SBRP). The grant program is giving a preference for businesses in the Promise Zone area in North County and Lemay in South County to help businesses lessen the burden of paying for rent or even for groceries to help them get through this crisis. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/2VBr5MD
Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as we can. We hope these supplemental funds will help you get through the next days and weeks.
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In partnership with numerous chambers of commerce and regional organizations, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is conducting a confidential survey of business leaders in the seven-state region of the Eighth Federal Reserve District. The survey will directly assist monetary policymakers and regional leaders in making decisions that impact the employment and financial situations of businesses in our region.
The survey does not require a firm name, and individual responses will be accessible only by a few economists at the Federal Reserve. The aggregate results will be analyzed and complied into a report for the public. Click below to complete the survey.
If you have questions, please contact Charles Gascon, Regional Economist at the St. Louis Fed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater North County Chamber
The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force is an unprecedented collaboration that includes BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s. The St. Louis metropolitan area’s largest health systems are working together to coordinate capacity, staffing, supplies and other issues to prepare for a coming surge of patients. The Task Force is also coordinating with public health departments, elected leaders and state and federal agencies to provide the best possible care for patients. Dr. Alex Garza, Chief Medical Officer at SSM Health and Incident Commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Taskforce will hold daily briefings on Facebook Live at 3pm – the link is below. I will also forward to you the daily briefing slide deck and link .
“This is deadly serious for this community right now.”
“We have a regional plan to stop the spread and save lives.”
“Do your part.”
“We are together in this challenge.”
(TASK FORCE) Who belongs to it?
The task force includes our metropolitan area’s largest healthcare systems, including BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital (this includes 24 total healthcare facilities in the Metropolitan Statistical Area). They are working together to coordinate capacity, staffing, supplies and other issues to prepare for a coming surge of patients. They are also coordinating with public health departments, elected leaders and state and federal agencies to provide the best possible care to patients in the weeks ahead.
(TASK FORCE) Where can I follow task force briefings?
Task force briefings are streamed live on Facebook here, and task force briefing slides are also shared: https://www.facebook.com/St-Louis-Metropolitan-Pandemic-Task-Force-114664760188697/
(REGION DEFINITION) How are we defining the region?
All of the modeling we have done is based on the Metropolitan Statistical Area of the St. Louis region. That includes St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Lincoln County and Warren County in Missouri. And, the Illinois counties of St. Clair, Madison, Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin and Monroe. Approximately 2.8 million people live in the MSA.
(MODELING) What do the models predict?
The models paint a grim picture with many thousands of people hospitalized and way too many people dead from all over the region. But we are not trapped by those models. We can stop the spread of this virus and demonstrate what happens when an entire region comes together to stop a common enemy. Stop spread. Save lives.
(MODELING – SPECIFICS) Can you tell us exactly how many people might get sick or be hospitalized?
Our current modeling shows that more than 80,000 people in the metro area could become infected by the end of April. That could result in anywhere from around 1,300 to more than 3,000 total patients in our hospitals based on our current modeling. The higher end of that range could potentially overwhelm our healthcare capacity, especially our ICU’s and ventilators, as well as burn out our region’s healthcare professionals.
However, I want to stress that this is based entirely on how much the virus spreads in the community. Therefore, the single most important thing we can do is prevent this region from reaching our crisis number of patients. We can do that by decreasing the spread. Stay home. Wash your hands. Clean surfaces often, if you are sick, contact your healthcare provider or the health department and isolate yourself. If we do these things, we can lower the number of people who become infected which lowers the number who will need hospital and intensive care and makes the jobs of our healthcare workers easier.
(MODELING) When does the surge hit the St. Louis metro area?
Based on our modeling, we expect the surge to hit within the next two to three weeks. Our work today will impact how big that surge is.
(TESTING AVAILABILITY) Do we have enough COVID-19 tests right now?
When something of this scale is coming, every single resource we have is precious. There are not enough available tests right now to test everyone who might show symptoms consistent with this virus. This is a national problem, not just a local one. That’s why we have to do everything we can to stop the spread (stay home, wash hands, clean surfaces) even if we are feeling well.
(PPE SUPPLY) Do we have enough PPE for health care workers in this area?
We are going to need more. How much more we need depends on how effective we are at stopping the spread. The health systems and government leaders are doing everything we can to get more PPE, but we really need everyone in the region to help us by stopping the spread.
I have seen amazing efforts to make masks at home for healthcare professionals. We are so thankful for that, but the very best thing you can do to protect healthcare professionals is not to make a mask, but to stay home and stop the spread. We are developing a metro-wide framework by which we will track PPE and supplies across all of our hospital systems, and going forward, I will be able to update you regularly on where we stand. Those numbers will change in real time, but we will do our do our very best to keep you informed.
We don’t have enough beds for the worst possible surge that could come and that is what we are hoping to avoid by asking people to stay home, wash their hands and stop the spread. That’s the only way we reduce infections and hospitalizations. We are developing a metro-wide framework by which we will track capacity across all of our hospital systems, and going forward, I will be able to update you regularly on where we stand. Those numbers will change in real time, but we will do our do our very best to keep you informed.
(TRIAGE/CARE GUIDELINES) How will you make decisions about who gets care if this surge happens?
We don’t want to get to a place where we have to make decisions about who gets care and who doesn’t. We want to avoid that by stopping the spread here. But, we are working through now how those decisions would be made if we get to that point.
(ALTERNATIVE CARE SITES) Are you exploring using alternative sites for care?
We are exploring every potential resource to deal with the surge that could be coming. As health systems we are working together to share resources. We will continue to do that to meet needs.
But, there are many other issues besides space. If the surge we anticipate does come, we would need more staff, more equipment and other resources. We don’t really have all of that available to us. What we can do is prevent the spread of this virus and avoid the surge that would force us to find alternative sites for care.
(HEALTH CARE STAFFING/BURNOUT/ILLNESS) How are you dealing with healthcare staffing shortages caused by illness or burnout?
That is a really important issue and we are working together to make sure that we are taking care of those who are taking care of us. They are going to get tired. They are going to be stressed. They are going to worry about exposing their own families when they go home at night. We are doing what we can to help by arranging additional staff and hotels where they can sleep at night without exposing their families.
Plus, this goes beyond healthcare workers. We should be thinking about first responders, grocery store workers and others whose work is really essential to our daily lives. But, the best thing we can do to protect all of them is to stop the spread.
(TIMING) When will this be over? When will you know that what we are doing is working?
We will know in the next few weeks whether what we are doing is having an impact. When we see a decrease in the number and severity of the cases we are seeing, we will know. Test results are lagging indicators so it will take a while to know what kind of impact we are having. Most models show this will be with us for months.
We do know that staying home, creating social distance and washing hands will have an impact and help us get through this more quickly.
(MENTAL HEALTH CARE) How should we deal with the mental and emotional stress this crisis is causing?
Humans are social creatures. We need to be with each other and all of us who are working on this recognize that. But, for a while, we need to do life differently. We need to protect the people we love and our neighbors by staying at home and connecting only through technology.
(EQUITY/ACCESS TO CARE) What are we doing to ensure there is equal access to care across socioeconomic and racial demographics?
That is a very important issue. This virus doesn’t discriminate in any way. All of us are vulnerable and we are all dependent on everyone. So, we have to take care of everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
If you need care call your health provider. If you don’t have a health provider and you are concerned you may have this virus you can go to the , the or the for a virtual visit with a provider. You can share your symptoms and a healthcare provider will evaluate that information and offer a recommendation for you. You can also reach out to great providers like Affinia Healthcare or CareSTL.
Normal in-person presentation about FEMA program rules and application process shift to online video format for local governments and eligible agencies included in federal Public Assistance disaster declaration
The Applicant Briefings are not for the general public and there will not be any information related to the FEMA Individual Assistance program, which provides assistance to individuals and families.
JEFFERSON CITY – Following the federal disaster declaration for COVID-19 on March 26, the State Emergency Management Agency has made an online applicant briefing available for local government and nonprofit agencies statewide that are eligible for federal assistance for emergency protective measures taken as part of the COVID-19 response. This online presentation was developed to align with SEMA’s social distancing measures.
SEMA strongly encourages all eligible agencies in Missouri’s 114 counties and the City of St. Louis that plan to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to review the video on SEMA’s website, in order to better understand program changes, eligibility information, the federal reimbursement process, documentation requirements and other essential program information. All Requests for Public Assistance must be submitted to FEMA within 30 days of the March 26 disaster declaration date, or April 25. Applicants should note that the Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs) must first be received by SEMA, processed, and then submitted to FEMA by the April 25 deadline, and to plan accordingly.
Governmental agencies, public health agencies, public hospitals, urgent care facilities, etc., and private non-profits that incurred COVID-19 related expenses should review the Applicant Briefing video, including those that are unsure of their eligibility status to ensure proper steps are being taken now to receive reimbursements.
SEMA encourages public officials and community leaders in all 114 Missouri counties to share information about the Applicant Briefing video with all potential applicants to ensure they have an opportunity to watch the video online and submit a request for FEMA Public Assistance.
View the Applicant Briefing video and other necessary information about the FEMA Public Assistance program at: http://sema.dps.mo.gov/programs/state_public_assistance.php.
For questions about the Applicant Briefings or the Public Assistance program, please call (573) 526-9234.
The following guidelines may assist businesses and individuals with understanding and complying with the Stay-at-Home Order issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services and effective on April 6, 2020.
The State DED and Regional Chamber need real-time information about the impact from the businesses, please take time to let them know how you are doing, it matters: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07egz8xkc4k7xjg53t/_tmp/greeting
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan.
Scholastic’s Free Learn at Home Program
Crash Course YouTube Channel