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North Dakota Department of Commerce novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Commerce responds to evolving situation

Good evening North Dakota business community,

To best serve businesses and communities dealing with the threat of COVID-19, the Department of Commerce has temporarily re-directed human and financial resources to support you. While you should continue to receive your public health information from the North Dakota Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Commerce will provide you with important information pertaining to both state and federal resources available to businesses and communities affected economically as a result of this public health threat.

Our team is dedicated to identifying resources currently available to you, is closely monitoring proposed federal resources as they become available and will be prepared to interpret and apply that information for your benefit. Commerce also is re-directing state resources to specifically assist businesses and communities that have suffered economic loss relating to COVID-19.

We have begun development of a “one-stop,” easy-to-navigate business resource web page that aggregates important information relative to COVID-19 economic resources. We will also make available a dedicated team that can provide personal assistance in navigating business and economic resources.

In addition to the information to follow in this newsletter, you will be notified as further details and resources become available in the coming days. It is our privilege to serve you during times of prosperity and challenges alike.

Best regards,

Commerce Commissioner Michelle Kommer

Governor declares state of emergency/state of calm over COVID-19

Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, a move that frees up state resources to fight the spread of the disease and provides guidance to possible closure of K-12 schools in the state. The governor said schools should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding preparing for COVID-19.

The governor's executive order also activates the State Emergency Operations Plan that directs all state agencies to provide resources, including activation of the North Dakota National Guard if needed.

North Dakotans should prepare for situations common during a pandemic such as cancelled travel and events, school and business closures, avoiding large crowds and the need to stay at home when you’ve been exposed to a family member who has been sick.

Tourism

Dear Tourism Partners,

By this time, you already have received hundreds of emails and letters discussing COVID-19 and its impact on our health, our industry and our economy. The tourism industry is certainly the first to feel the impact, as thousands of events are cancelled and attractions closed. While I may not have a lot to add to the deluge of information you have read, I do want you to know that the tourism and marketing team at the North Dakota Department of Commerce is working to mitigate the impact to the best of our abilities. We are keeping a keen eye on marketing metrics, re-tooling messaging and imagery, sharing facts with the traveling public and determining our best possible position to influence trips to North Dakota at the appropriate time. This is a time when our uncrowded adventures are a huge advantage.

The Travel Industry Conference scheduled for April 6-8 has not yet been cancelled. We will continue to monitor and make a final decision by March 23.

We applaud our tourism partners who are taking extraordinary measures to keep their customers and staff safe in this unprecedented situation.

Be Safe!

Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman

Additional resources

ED & F

Developers and Business Leaders,

Economic Development & Finance will continue working on existing economic development projects throughout the state. However, it will temporarily pivot to focus on meeting immediate business finance needs to buffer against short-term disruptions. ED&F will offer end-to-end support regarding federal and state programs. In addition, ED&F is working with the Bank of North Dakota to most effectively utilize existing programs. Details over the next week will surface based on Congressional legislation and discoveries within the existing federal framework. As we have pivoted to support immediate needs so that companies can enjoy streamlined services, contact me if you have ideas or questions.

Thanks,

ED&F Director James Leiman

Additional resources

Main Street Initiative

The Main Street Initiative Team will be working closely with state and federal partners to closely track the economic impacts of COVID-19 on communities in North Dakota. This information will be compiled and shared with partners to ensure that the state can deploy all available resources to impacted communities and businesses. Members of the MSI team will also be using multiple channels, including the Community Leaders Network, to disseminate information about resources on a regular basis. If you have any questions please contact Brett Gurholt or call 701-328-7264.

Take care,

MSI Team: Shawn Kessel, Emily Brown, Brett Gurholt, Maria Effertz-Hanson

Additional Resources

Community Services

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development officials have developed an Infectious Disease Toolkit for Continuum of Care homeless shelters (CoC). This includes specific documents addressing preparedness in shelters and encampment settings. More here.

HUD is coordinating with the federal agencies to develop resources for communities.

Communities can use their unspent Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and Continuum of Care Program funds to help address needs related to coronavirus. Additionally, a portion of CDBG funds are also available for public services, including health care.

Technical assistance is available for ESG and CoC Program recipients if requested. Additionally, communities that want to amend their CDBG plans can reach out to their CPD representative.

Community Services Director Bonnie Malo