"The state of Texas is strong; our people, resilient. As we have seen during past natural disasters, when neighbors help neighbors, our resilience is redoubled. As we open Texas, we are each called upon to be Texans: to act responsibly and safely as we re-engage the economy, to continue following all health precautions, and to care for our most vulnerable neighbors. Lives depend on our actions. I know you will respond as Texans."
Governor Greg Abbott
Texans are battling a colossal challenge – one that has tested lives and livelihoods. The Governor's Economic Development & Tourism Office staff and community partners continue to work together to provide direct assistance and resource referrals to Texas businesses to overcome this crisis. We are also focused on recovery and the next steps to position our state's businesses and communities for future success. For additional news and resources regarding the State's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), go to gov.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Navigate to resources on this page:
The Governor's Plan to Open Texas
On October 7, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order to open bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity in conjunction with county officials. In hospital regions with low COVID-19 hospitalizations, County Judges will be able to opt their county into opening bars beginning October 14, 2020, provided they assist in enforcing health protocols. The Governor's Executive Order also increases the occupancy levels for all business establishments other than bars to 75%. The Governor released a web video with his Executive Order, encouraging Texans to continue following best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
Businesses should continue to follow the minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Guidance for employers and employees, as well as Open Texas Checklists by business type, can be found on the Open Texas Website.
EIDL & PPP Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan initiative will reopen for certain new and existing borrowers. Initially, only Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) will be able to make loans for first draw candidates starting January 11, 2021, and second draw candidates starting January 13, 2021. Shortly thereafter, the program will open to all participating lenders. This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021. For more information, please find the SBA’s press release.
Existing PPP loan recipients should work with their current lender to apply for loan forgiveness. Please see the below application documents for more information:
- Download PPP Full Forgiveness Application
- Download PPP EZ Forgiveness Application
- Frequently Asked Questions on PPP Loan Forgiveness
The SBA has reopened Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications through to December 31, 2021. It is now accepting applications from all eligible businesses. The EIDL is designed to provide long-term, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. For more information, visit the SBA's Disaster Loan Webpage (SBA en español). Small business owners requesting loan reconsideration can e-mail PDC.Reconsideration@sba.gov.
Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) may also be able to provide assistance. Find a CDFI near you by utilizing the CDFI Finder. Please continue to check with your local and regional economic development organization for local resources which may be available, as well as your local financial institutions.
Texas Workforce Commission
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has additional resources for employers regarding COVID-19. TWC offers a video addressing the three most commonly asked questions by Texas employers that are affected by COVID-19 (TWC Video en español).
Governor's Small Business Webinar Series
The Governor's Office of Small Business Assistance has launched a series of webinars to provide Texas small businesses and entrepreneurs with the resources they need during this crisis. Businesses will receive timely, relevant, actionable information on COVID-19 recovery resources and will connect with local experts and support systems. Visit the Small Business Events page to see upcoming webinars, or sign-up for our Small Business Updates to be notified as soon as new dates are announced.
Skills for Small Business
Through TWC's Skills for Small Business program, up to $2 million from the Skills Development Fund is dedicated to Texas' small business community. Small businesses can apply to TWC for training offered by their local community or technical college, or the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).
If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) encourages you to apply for benefits by utilizing the online claim portal, or by calling the Tele-Center at 1-800-939-6631 any day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. TWC will investigate why you lost your job and mail a decision explaining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits. TWC may be experiencing increased call volumes and hold times on Tele-Center phone lines. You are encouraged to use the online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS), to handle your claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also sign up for electronic correspondence so you can receive TWC communications online as soon as possible. Visit the Texas Workforce Commission's Website for additional information and resources for job seekers.
Guidance for Self-Employed
The CARES Act includes provisions for temporary coverage of individuals who have exhausted their entitlement to regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) and individuals who are not eligible for regular UC, such as individuals who are self-employed or have limited recent work history. Self-employed individuals looking to file a claim are directed to do so online via Unemployment Benefits Services, or by calling a TWC Tele-Center any day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 1-800-939-6631.
The Texas economy is resilient and employers around the state are currently looking to fill open positions. Visit our Texas Jobs webpage for information on local workforce and job resources.
CARES Act Recovery Assistance
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the availability of $1.5 billion in CARES Act funds through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to aid communities impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. For more information and to see if your organization is eligible for an EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant, visit the U.S. Department of Commerce website.
Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)
Under the CARES Act, $5.06 billion in funding was made available to local governments in Texas to aid in reimbursement of direct expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Treasury directly distributed over $3.2 billion to the cities and counties in Texas with a population greater than 500,000. The remaining $1.85 billion will be available to other cities and counties throughout the state. The counties, and the cities within those counties, that did not receive direct allocations from the Treasury are eligible to apply for a $55 per capita allocation from the $1.85 billion. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will administer the process and will partner with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to provide individual assistance to each city and county throughout the process. Information on how to apply for funding, as well as guidance about eligible uses, can be found on TDEM's website.
COVID-19 Federal Assistance Training for Local Leaders
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service provides a series of free online trainings to help local officials understand, acquire and administer federal assistance available to the state of Texas. The first online training, Federal Relief: An overview for local governments, is available now. Additional trainings will dive into the specifics of individual programs based on the needs of state and local officials and will be posted on the AgriLife Extension website.
COVID-19 Emergency Funding for Local Governments
Governor Abbott announced that his Public Safety Office (PSO) would provide $41 million in federal funds to assist cities and counties throughout the COVID-19 response. These funds come from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program authorized by the federal Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations Act. Download a list of jurisdictions that have received an award. The list will be updated as awards are released. Local units of government that are interested in learning more about this program can contact PSO via email@example.com or at 512-463-1919.
In April 2020, the Governor announced that the PSO will provide $38 million in federal funds to local units of government in Texas to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Interested jurisdictions may register and apply for funding with the Governor's Public Safety Office, as well as see a list of eligible expenses.
Texas COVID Relief Fund
The Texas COVID Relief Fund, powered by the OneStar Foundation, provides critical funding and resources to organizations across the state working on the ground to support the economic recovery of local communities. Funds raised will be distributed through grants focused in the areas of community and economic development, healthcare and education.
IC2 Institute Program
The IC2 Institute, headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin, explores the broad economic, technological and human factors that drive economic development in regions. To assist Texas communities in looking ahead towards business recovery and expansion, the Institute has put together a research team to investigate more than 50 selected Texas cities, examine current assets and challenges in those cities, and create community asset summaries for use in developing recovery strategies. In addition, the Institute will offer both specialized online training for community leaders this fall and opportunities to work in teams on solving particular problems.
FEMA Community Disaster Loan (CDL) Program
The state (TDEM) has made a request to FEMA to become eligible for the CDL program. If approved, jurisdictions which meet the program requirements may apply. This program is typically initiated after the first six months of the incident period. However, it’s advisable that jurisdictions who are knowledgeable on the program should start collecting required pre-disaster financial information. FEMA’s website provides additional detail on the program, required documents and the loan implementation process.
Governor Abbott's plan to Open Texas allows certain services and activities to open with limited occupancy. The Texas Department of State Health Services is issuing minimum standard health protocols for all businesses and individuals to follow, which can be found in the Open Texas Checklists.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID‑19:
- Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
- If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice social distancing. This includes avoiding crowds and minimizing physical contact.
Page updated as of October 28, 2020