COVID-19 Resources and Updates for Business Owners and Employees

The diverse business community that spreads across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin will stand strong through this international crisis. We’ve weathered economic downturns and shifting landscapes before, and we’ve continued to seize new opportunities to grow beyond expectations. We’ve accomplished this and more by learning from one another and sticking together.

Staying current is essential but challenging with new resources and information becoming available every day. APEX is committed to keeping this page up to date with the information you need to make strategic decisions for your business. We’ll keep you informed so you can stay focused on maintaining operations and strengthening your business.


About COVID-19

Center for Disease Control Information about COVID-19

Please visit the CDC website for the most up to date information about COVID-19 (coronavirus).


Business Resources Supporting Safe, Effective Working Environments

Center for Disease Control Guidance for Business

Visit the CDC website for interim guidance that may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for health care settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19. 


Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Employers

Visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) website for interim guidance for employers and workers to help prevent exposure and infection of COVID-19. Additional resources on preparing workplaces in the event of a coronavirus exposure can be found here. Read More



APEX is proud to share these best practices for returning to work safely compiled by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, of whom APEX is a highly participatory member.  The Chamber’s goal has been to strike a balance between safeguarding health and protecting Minnesota’s economy. Minnesota businesses are eager to get back to work, and through this article, you will learn how this can be done at the lowest risk to employees. Read More


National Association of Manufacturers

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has developed this robust set of COVID-19 Federal Policy Recommendations, insights from national members, and other best practices for manufacturers.


Midwest Manufacturers Association Webinar Series

The umbrella association of Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association (AMFA) has partnered with the Minnesota Precision Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and begun producing a webinar series that is available to view at the following links:


Safe Work Playbook

Lear Corporation, headquartered in Southfield, Michigian generously created and is openly sharing their Safe Work Playbook, as a point of reference to assist other manufacturers and industries. 


MN DEED - COVID-19 Information and Resources for Employers and Businesses 

For additional resources and information for Minnesota businesses, visit the MN DEED website. 

Effective May 4th, 2020 -  What businesses are allowed to go back to work under EO 20-48? 


Employers and Workers – Preparing for the Return to Work

In an effort to correct misinformation and alleviate confusion over the legal rights of employers and workers as the pandemic lockdowns lift and employees return to work, this list of FAQs clarifies guidelines for the transitional period ahead. The reference document explains how employers can ensure a safe workplace and how employees can report unsafe working conditions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It highlights details that are easy to overlook regarding the unemployment collection and dispensation process. It also provides further resources for employers who should develop a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, as well as employees who have concerns about returning to work. Read More


Emergency Loans, Financing, and Tax Relief


MN Small Business Relief Grants

More than $60 million [$30 million for Greater MN] available in grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19  

MN DEED St. Paul – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced that the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program -- which was approved by the Minnesota Legislature last week and signed by Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday – will begin accepting applications next week.

This program will provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law. Learn More


Taconite Area Business & Community Relief Programs 

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation - made $7 million in loan and grant funding available to area businesses and communities that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency’s board voted unanimously at its June 10 meeting to approve the two new programs as part of the FY21 budget. Learn More


SBA Disaster Assistance Loans CARES ACT Information

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses, regardless of size, and nonprofits including charitable organizations such as churches and private universities. Learn more here about relief programs from SBA including the Paycheck Protection Program(PPP) and more.

IRS - Coronavirus Tax Relief 

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. Visit the IRS website for more information. 

MN DEED - Financing Programs 

Visit the MN DEED website for details on their business financing programs as well as guidance on financing a business.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Here, the State of Wisconsin’s department of economic development details available SBA low interest disaster loans as well as grant resources available to Wisconsin businesses from WEDC and other local, state and federal agencies.

Entrepreneur Fund Small Business Resources & Updates Form

The Entrepreneur Fund is a strategic resource for business owners. Visit the Entrepreneur Fund's website for details on emergency financing and strategic business services. Information and business resorces are continually changing, the provided link above will take you to a COVID-19 resoruces page which includes relief resources and provides a form to recieve updaes of changes as they happen.  

DEDA - Duluth Small Business Emergency Fund

The Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) has provided initial funding to the Entrepreneur Fund to create the Duluth Small Business Emergency Fund (DSBEF), a partially forgivable loan program to support struggling small business owners in Duluth, MN through the COVID-19 crisis.  


Unemployment Assistance for Employees

Minnesota Unemployment Information 

For information regarding unemployment in Minnesota, visit the official website of the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program, administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

COVID-19:  Applying for unemployment if you are self-employed or an independent contractor Learn More & Apply

Wisconsin Unemployment Information 

For information regarding unemployment in Wisconsin, visit the Department of Workforce Development website. As a result of Governor Evers emergency order, you do not need to do a work search during the Governor's declared emergency. 


Minnesota Department of Health

Visit the Minnesota Department of Health website for more information about COVID-19 and strategies to slow the spread throughout the state.


Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has taken decisive action to curb the spread of COVID-19, support our health care providers and facilities, and mitigate the impact on Minnesota families. Visit the #StayHomeMN website for more information.


Wisconsin Safer at Home

Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued a Safer at Home order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Read the Safer at Home order for more information.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website for more information about COVID-19 and strategies to slow the spread throughout the state.   


Employment Opportunities


NORTHFORCE remains the regionally trusted workforce networking tool during these COVID impacted times. Refer to the platform to post all open positions, including temporary, and encourage any furloughed or laid off individuals to register and connect with locally open positions in their field. Learn More