Clay County Executive Order Business Relief Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is this program?

Clay County will offer a business relief grant program to support local businesses impacted by Executive Order 20-99. The guidelines of this program were established through a collaboration with Clay County and City representatives with a goal in providing financial assistance to business owners who have experienced financial hardship as a direct result of Executive Order 20-99.  Grant amounts will be based on a business’s ability to show need and the number of applications which meet the criteria.

What is the funding source for these grants?

The Clay County Board of Commissioners has allocated $1.274 million to support local businesses that have been impacted by the State of Minnesota Executive Order No. 20-99 (EO 20-99), which went into effect on November 20, 2020. Clay County received this allocation of grant funding from the State of Minnesota on a per capita basis, specifically to assist with businesses affected by EO 20-99.

When and how do I apply?

Online applications are being accepted beginning at noon on January 12, 2021 until January 24, 2021, at midnight. Apply by going to  ClayCountyMN.gov/COVID-Relief

Can I send in a paper or email application?

No. Due to the large volume of applications, we can only accept applications submitted through the online form.

I started my application but didn’t complete it and left the website before clicking submit. Can I go back and start where I left off?

No. You will need to complete and submit the application in one session.

I completed the application and submitted it, but I either made a mistake or I need to update it. Can I go back and change my information?

Unfortunately, you are not able to go back and change your application. However, you can submit another application and your previous application will be disregarded.

I accidentally submitted more than one application. Will I be disqualified?

No. You will not be disqualified, but the last application you submitted will be the only application reviewed. Any applications you submitted prior to the last one you submitted will be disregarded.

Does it matter when I submit my application?

You must submit by the deadline of Sunday January 24, 2021 at midnight. This is not a first-come, first served program. However, it is advisable not to wait until the last minute. The system is designed to handle a high number of applications at one time, but there is a limit on how many it can handle.

I need the application translated into another language. Where can I get help?

The application form has translation capabilities. At the very top, select the language desired.

Who is selecting Eligible Businesses/Candidates for Relief? How will selections be made?

Selection teams made up of local government officials will review all qualified applications and all businesses that meet the qualifying criteria will be provided aid.

Are nonprofit organizations eligible for this program?

No, with the exception of Veteran’s Organizations with a permanent physical location.

My business leases space within the permanent physical location of another business (for example, a chair in a barbershop or a store within a mall, etc.). Is this considered a permanent physical location?

Yes.

I am a resident of another state, but my business has a permanent physical location in Clay County. Is my business eligible for this program?

Yes. 

I am a permanent resident of Clay County, but my business has a permanent physical location outside of Clay County. Is my business eligible for this program?

No. Businesses are required to have permanent physical location in Clay County.

I don’t know if I have a tax lien against my business. How do I find out?

You can visit the Office of the Secretary of State website to look for tax lien filings. Look up tax liens here: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/ucc-cns-tax-liens-help/how-to-search-tax-lien-filings/

I started my business after November 1, 2019. I am unable to compare revenues between November 1 and December 31 of last year and this year. Am I eligible for this program?

If your business was started after November 1, 2019 but was in operation on December 31, 2020 and your business was restricted from operating by executive order 20-99, you are eligible for this program.

How is revenue defined? 

For the purposes of this program, we can accept either accrual or cash basis accounting when calculating revenues over the relevant time period. Whatever method is used, it should be consistent between the two years being compared.

Can my business receive more than one grant?

No. You can only receive one grant from this program per business.

I own or I am part-owner of multiple businesses that could be eligible for an award. Can each of those business apply to receive a grant?

Yes. Businesses that are at two separate locations and are two distinct businesses are eligible to receive an award.

I own or I am part-owner of businesses that are co-located. Can each of those business apply to receive a grant?

Businesses that have the same owners and are at the same location are eligible to receive only one award. 

I own a business with multiple locations. Can each of the locations be eligible to apply and receive a grant?

No.

Does my home-based business qualify as a "permanent physical location?"

No. Home-based businesses are not considered eligible for the Clay County Executive Order Business Relief Program.

What is the definition of a home-based business?

According to IRS Publication 587 a home-based business is one that uses the owner’s home (or space within the home) as its principal place of business. That is:

  1. It is used regularly and exclusively for administration or management of a trade or business, and
  2. The owner has no other fixed location where the business carries on a substantial amount of administration or management.

Besides myself, my business does not have any employees. Am I eligible for this program?

No.

My business has zero employees and/or hires independent contractors for some of its functions. Am I eligible for this program?

No.

My business only employs part-time employees. Am I disqualified from this program?

No.

I am self-employed or an independent contractor, but my work is performed at the permanent physical location of another business. Am I eligible for this program?

No. For the purposes of this program, your businesses does not have a permanent physical location (or the expenses related to a physical location) and is not eligible for this program.

My business is a home-based business that is a licensed childcare provider. Am I eligible for this program?

No.

What is the definition of "permanent physical location"?

Only businesses with a permanent physical location in Clay County are eligible for this program. For the purposes of this program, permanent physical location means a non-mobile permanent facility such as an office, warehouse, storefront or other facility where the business carries on a substantial amount of administration or management of their business.

Businesses that operate exclusively through a mobile operation, such as a mobile food stand, food truck, etc., are not considered as having a permanent physical location.

Facilities that are in the home, in a space within the home, or in a structure on the same property as the home of the business owner are considered a home-based business. Home-based businesses are ineligible for a grant from this program.

Are for-profit farming operations considered home-based businesses?

No.

My business is a for-profit farming operation. Am I eligible for this program?

No.

My business was restricted from operating by executive order 20-99. How does this impact my chance of getting a grant?

If your business was restricted by executive order 20-99 you will qualify for an award.

This includes the following categories of businesses:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts
  • Indoor events and entertainment
  • Outdoor events and entertainment (not including drive-in facilities)

Please refer to EO 20-99 for more information.

My business was NOT restricted from operating by executive order 20-99. How does this impact my chance of getting a grant?

If your business was NOT restricted by executive order 20-99 you will NOT qualify for an award.

When will I know if I have been selected for a grant?

We are hoping to notify grant winners in late January. You will receive an email from Clay County notifying you of the award or if your application is determined ineligible.  Please note that official correspondence regarding this application will come from COVID.Relief@claycountymn.gov or noreply@seamlessdocs.com

If I am awarded a grant, how will I get grant funds?

Once your application has been verified for eligibility, you will receive an email with further instructions and a request for a signed W-9 form. Once we have the necessary documents back from you, the County Auditor’s Office will mail you a check.

If I am not selected for a grant, will I be notified?

We will notify applicants via email regarding the status of their application. However, there may be a delay in notification due to application volume. Please note that official correspondence regarding this application will come from COVID.Relief@claycountymn.gov or noreply@seamlessdocs.com

If I am selected, what kind of documents will I have to sign to get this grant money?

You will have to provide a signed W-9 form prior to releasing the funds.

What can the funds be used for?

Grant funds shall be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, and other similar expenses that occur or have occurred since November 20, 2020, in the regular course of business. All uses must be exclusively for Clay County operations.

Is there any fine print?

Yes. You will need to attest to the following statement:
“I certify to the best of my knowledge and belief that the information contained in the Clay County Executive Order Business Relief Program application is true, complete, and accurate. I am aware that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent information, or the omission of any material fact, may subject me to criminal, civil or administrative penalties for fraud, false statements, false claims or otherwise. I understand that Clay County has the right to verify any information contained in this application and may contact any individuals and agencies involved and/or require grantee to complete a REV185b tax data disclosure form. I also understand that I will be liable to pay back funds if I am found to have misrepresented my data or not spent the funds according to eligible uses. I also understand that Clay County reserves the right to make modifications to the program in response to need and available funds.”

Can the funds be used to pay business-related insurance deductibles?

Yes. 

Can the funds be used to repair my facility or equipment?

Yes. 

Can the funds be used to purchase equipment?

No. Grant funds shall be used for working capital expenses that occur in the regular course of business. The purchase of equipment is not regarded as a working capital expense.

Under any circumstances will I have to pay the grant back?

This is a grant - not a loan - and you will not be required to pay it back. 

I run a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to business owners. How can I help? Can I participate in administering awards?

You can share information about this grant opportunity to your clients and customers and offer to assist them in completing their application.

Is the amount of the grant taxable to the recipient business?

Please consult your accountant, lawyer, or other tax advisor. Clay County is unable to provide tax advice.

What kind of businesses can not apply for a grant through this program?

The following businesses would not be eligible:

  • Businesses not directly or indirectly (as defined under the program terms) impacted by EO 20-99.
  • Businesses without a physical establishment in Clay County, Minnesota.
  • Any home-based business.
  • Corporate owned chains; however, locally owned franchise businesses are eligible.
  • Businesses in default conditions prior to November 1, 2020.
  • Businesses that primarily derive income from gambling.
  • Businesses that derive any income from adult entertainment.
  • Businesses that primarily sell pawned merchandise, guns, tobacco or vaping products.
  • Businesses that derive income from passive investments; real estate transactions; commercial. property rentals or commercial property management; billboards; or lobbying.

Do I have to create or retain jobs for a grant?

No, there are no job creation requirements for the Clay County Executive Order Business Relief Program.

Can the funds be used for business acquisition and/or the purchase of land or building?

No. 

How long will this program last?

All funds must be disbursed by March 15, 2021. We expect all funds to be disbursed at the end of February 2021.

I applied for and received a grant from another source (local or city government, nonprofit, foundation, etc.). Can I still receive a grant from Clay County through this program?

Yes.

I received a Paycheck Protection Program loan or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (or any other federal SBA loan or grant, including an EIDL Advance). Am I still eligible for a grant from this program?

Yes. 

If I receive a grant from this program, how does that affect my Paycheck Protection Program loan?

Please refer this question to your PPP loan servicer or financial advisor.

Who will contact me about my application or this grant?

Official correspondence regarding this application and grant will come from COVID.Relief@claycountymn.gov or noreply@seamlessdocs.com    

What if I have questions?

If you have questions not addressed on this page, send an email to: Covid.Relief@claycountymn.gov  Note that we may not be able to respond individually to each question quickly, but we will read all questions and post answers on the Frequently Asked Questions section of ClayCountyMN.gov/COVID-Relief as soon as possible. Check the FAQ for updated as additional information becomes available.