Updated February, 12 2021
The City of Colorado Springs is working hand-in-hand with county and state officials in obtaining the most accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19.
City Economic Development physical offices are currently closed to the public, but all staff members are equipped to assist you with your business needs virtually. Thank you for your understanding as we work to keep the public and our staff safe and healthy, and ensuring you have access to the City of Colorado Springs Economic Development services and support. You can reach our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-385-5955.
To view the county’s current COVID-19 status and the capacity restrictions at each level, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s COVID-19 Dial Dashboard.
COVID Small Business Relief Options
NEW – Exponential Impact is reviving its Survive and Thrive program to help small businesses in low-and middle-income neighborhoods of Colorado Springs survive the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic. $500,000 has been allocated to the city of Colorado Springs from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act enacted in March. The funding will enable Exponential Impact to make 15-25 grants of up to $20,000 each to businesses with up to five employees in the 80904, 80909, 80910 and 80916 ZIP Codes. Applications will be accepted from Feb. 15-28 at exponentialimpact.com.
NEW - 2021 Pikes Peak Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program
Additional COVID-19 relief funding is now being made available to local businesses, thanks to Senate Bill 20B-001, which was passed by the legislature of the State of Colorado during the December 2020 special session. El Paso County is working with the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) to distribute this additional funding locally, through a new grant program, the 2021 Pikes Peak Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program.
PPACG and El Paso County have also partnered with Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) to help administer this grant program. CEF will collect, process and review all grant application material, and subsequently provide the details of eligible businesses to PPACG. Applications for the 2021 Pikes Peak Small Business Relief Program are now being accepted, and can be submitted online. All applications are due by January 29, 2021 at 5:00 PM.
For more information on eligibility requirements, a comprehensive list of FAQs and further details on the grant program, visit the 2021 Pikes Peak Small Business Relief Program website.
NEW - City and County Announce Sales Tax Relief Program to Help Local Restaurants
The City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County are excited to announce a joint Sales Tax Relief plan for restaurants that have experienced sales declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is limited to the General Fund portion of taxes for each organization (2% for the City and 1% for the County). To apply for the rebate, complete the application (see link below). A W-9 and copy of your most recent State of Colorado sales tax remittance will be requested. Questions? Contact SalesTaxRebate@elpasoco.com or call (719) 520-6475.
NEW - Liquor Enforcement Division's Waiver of Liquor License fees
The State Liquor Enforcement Division is waiving liquor application, renewal, late renewal and COVID-19 Temporary Modifications fees for on-premise liquor consumption establishments pursuant to the recently enacted Senate Bill 20B-001.
Resources for helping businesses respond to COVID-19
Business Reopening Guidance and Resources
Cold Weather Guidance
- City of Colorado Springs Guidance for Temporary Structures and Heaters – This document offers guidance on meeting fire, zoning, and El Paso County Public Health's code requirements specific to outdoor dining while providing patrons, employees, and the city with healthful, warm, and safe experiences.
- Guidance for Temporary Outdoor Structures for Restaurants and Events – outlines guidance for restaurants for customers to eat in temporary structures and explains criteria the state uses to classify a setting as indoors or outdoors and the capacity requirements for each.
- Bundle Up for Small Business Cold Weather Toolkit – COVID-19 has limited indoor activities for our hospitality industries, and we are embracing the fall and winter outdoors to care for our neighbors and support small business. The toolkit includes business resources, information on best practices, logos, videos and stories.
- Permits to Expand Outdoor Dining - City Planning and Community Development is accepting temporary use and revocable permit applications to allow restaurants and bars to expand dining and consumption areas to private parking lots, sidewalks, café patio extensions, or balcony seating.
- Energize Colorado – Reopening Plan Template for Businesses
- Colorado COVID Small Business Legal Program – volunteer lawyers are available to help small businesses with COVID-19 related legal needs.
- El Paso County Variance Request for Restaurants Approved
- Additional guidance for breweries, food trucks, and requests for capacity over 50
- Telecommuting Toolkit for Employers and Employees - Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
- Staying Safe Window Signage for Businesses – downloadable window signs for your business to indicate how you are staying safe, created by Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and El Paso County Public Health.
Cleaning and Safety
- Preventing, Reporting, and Mitigating Workplace Facility Outbreaks
- Colorado Safer at Home Guidance for Businesses - best practices for all businesses and guidance for specific sectors including retail, personal services, child care facilities, and others.
- El Paso County Public Health Do's and Do Not's: A Practical Guide to Reopening Your Agency or Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Use of Face Coverings and PPE for Businesses
- Social Distancing Space Calculator for Businesses
- Guidance on Safety Standards, Equipment and Supplies for Businesses Under Safer at Home
- CDPHE Cleaning guidance
- List of Disinfectants Pre-Approved by EPA for Use Against COVID-19
Industry Specific Guidance from El Paso County Public Health
Economic-Related COVID-19 Announcements
City of Colorado Springs
- State of Emergency for Colorado Springs – Mayor Suthers declared a state of emergency on March16, 2020 to address COVID-19 and provide the City access to federal funding.
El Paso County
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Approves Comprehensive El Paso County Multi-Sector Variance Request – on June 26th CDPHE approved El Paso County’s request to increase capacity for a variety of indoor/outdoor sectors and activities.
State of Colorado
- NEW - The Colorado Arts Relief program is a funding initiative passed by the State of Colorado legislature to support arts, cultural and entertainment artists, crew members and organizations suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are due on January 8, 2021 at 4:00 pm MST.
- One-Month Extension for Remitting State Sales Taxes Collected by Qualifying Restaurants and Bars – On November 25th, Governor Polis signed an Executive Order that extends the state sales tax payment deadline for 30 days for the month of November for restaurants, bars and food trucks for up to $2,000, in recognition that these businesses have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
- Statewide Mask Requirement - On November 9, Governor Polis signed an Executive Order extending the requirement all people in Colorado over the age of 10 to wear a face covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within public indoor spaces or using public/non-personal transportation services for another 30 days.
- Unemployment Benefits Extended to Self-Employed and Independent Contractors – Beginning April 20, 2020, self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers can begin applying for unemployment insurance. In addition, $600 per week in extra federal unemployment insurance from the CARES act will start to show up in unemployment checks beginning the week of April 20.
- Paid Sick Leave – The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment published emergency rules which temporarily require employers in certain industries to provide a small amount of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms while awaiting COVID-19 testing.
- Temporary Suspension of Enforcement on On-Premise Retailed Licensees and Breweries to Sell, Deliver or Provide Alcohol for Takeout - On March 20, Governor Polis issued an executive order which temporarily allows retailers licensed to sell alcohol to sell, deliver, or provide for takeout sealed alcohol beverages for customers over the age of 21. City of Colorado Springs and restaurant industry representatives urged the Governor to consider this concept and were advocates in support of this executive order.
- Extension of Certain State Licenses – includes liquor licenses, bed-and breakfast permits, hotels and restaurants, taverns, retail gaming establishments, brewpubs, and more.
- Workers to Wear Non-Medical Face Coverings – On June 20th, the Governor signed an Executive Order to extend, restate, and amend orders to certain workers to wear non-medical face coverings and providing discretion to certain employers to deny admittance to individuals who fail to wear face coverings due to the presence of COVID-19.
- State allows restaurants to obtain temporary approval for modified liquor licenses in expanded outdoor seating – On June 5th, the Governor signed an executive order that allows restaurants to obtain temporary approval from State and local licensing authorities to modify their licensed premises to include outdoor dining areas within 1,000 feet of the restaurant, and also allows for the consumption of alcoholic beverages on a public right of way that has been authorized by ordinance, resolution, or rule adopted by a municipality, city and county, or county.
Funding Resources Available for Businesses
City of Colorado Springs does not accept applications for the following funding resources. Please apply directly through each organization at the links provided.
- Artist Recovery Fund – Pikes Peak Community Foundation and Bee Vradenburg Foundation have partnered to provide emergency support for individual artists and creative professionals in El Paso and Teller Counties.
- DDA Loans for Street-level Businesses - The Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has established a $300,000 low-interest loan fund to assist Downtown street-level businesses during the slower winter months.
- Loans will be provided to approved applicants at a fixed rate of 2 percent for a period of 21 months. Loans can be paid off in quarterly installments, with the first payments due by September 30, 2021 and the final payments due by September 30, 2022. Loans may also be paid off early.
- Approved applicants will receive three monthly payments each equal to 50 percent of their typical monthly rent or mortgage payment through the first quarter of 2021 (January, February, and March).
- Interested businesses can view eligibility criteria and download an application here.
- Colorado Winter Outdoor Grants Application – The Colorado Restaurant Foundation has established an emergency assistance program to assist Colorado restaurants affected by COVID-19 to purchase items needed to maintain outdoor dining spaces during colder weather.
- Alternative Sources of Funding in Colorado – The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade has created a Google sheet that helps Colorado’s small businesses find alternative funding sources beyond federal loans and programs. The sheet is being updated on a regular basis.
- Main Street Lending Program – helps credit flow to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis but now need loans to maintain their operations until they have recovered from, or adapted to, the impacts of the pandemic. The program offers 5-year loans that range from $100,000 to $300 million.
- SBA Coronavirus Funding Options – In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the federal CARES Act established several new, temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak including:
- SBA Express Bridge Loans – enables small businesses that currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly to bridge the gap while waiting for other financial relief. This program is available now – talk with your SBA Express Lender.
- SBA Debt Relief – SBA is providing financial reprieve to small businesses during the pandemic. This relief is automatic and application is not required.
- Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program
For additional assistance on SBA information, please reach out to the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center.
- Energize Colorado – Business Guidance, PPE, and Other Resources
- Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center – Business Preparedness & Continuity
- Colorado Department of Labor and Employment – Resources for Employers and Employees
- Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade – Business Resource Center
- World Trade Center Denver – Resources for Trade Practitioners and International Businesses
- Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC - Event Plans and Business Resources
- Manufacturers Edge COVID-19 Resources and Updates for Manufacturers
- Better Business Bureau – Avoiding and Reporting Scams
- El Paso County Public Health
- El Paso County Economic Development – Economic Recovery Efforts and Resources
- State of Colorado COVID-19 Website
How you can support local businesses
Please follow the guidance from local health officials so we can slow the spread of this disease. During this challenging time for our community consider ways to help a neighbor, volunteer with a community organization, and support local businesses, like buying online or ordering takeout from local restaurants. Did you know that when you buy local, 70% of your money stays in the community directly supporting local jobs, businesses, and our region’s economy? For more on the impact of small businesses in our community and tips on supporting local businesses, take a look at our Buy Local information and visit Downtown Partnership.
The state of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade is running a social media campaign to encourage shoppers to shop locally. Everyone in Colorado is invited and encouraged to participate in the #ShopLocalColorado campaign. Visit the state's website to find local campaigns across the state and resources to participate.
Locally, Support the Springs offers creative opportunities to support our local businesses during this trying time. Learn about small businesses offering alternative ways to shop, resources for up-to-date COVID-19 information, and ways to stay connected through volunteering and donating to emergency relief efforts. Visit SupportTheSprings.com for more information and add your business to the list.