Walz urges small businesses impacted by lack of snow to apply for business assistance

Published 3:26 pm Thursday, March 7, 2024

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As Minnesota continues to face record-high winter temperatures, Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday announced that Minnesota has unlocked federal funding for small businesses impacted by this winter’s historic drought conditions. Amid the warmest winter on record, federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available because of ongoing federal drought declarations affecting 81 Minnesota counties. Governor Walz urges small business owners to apply for assistance as soon as possible. 

“From skiing and snowshoeing to winter festivals, snowy winters are part of our way of life in Minnesota. The low precipitation we’ve experienced this winter has had a real economic impact on small businesses that rely on snow and winter tourism to grow and survive,” Walz said. “I encourage all impacted business owners to apply for assistance as soon as possible.”

From December to February, Minnesota experienced the warmest meteorological winter on record. Through Feb. 29, there has only been 14.3 inches of snow in the Twin Cities, the second-lowest season total on record. In Duluth, only 15.7 inches of snow has fallen, with an average snow depth of 1.8 inches — both among the five lowest measures on record. This lack of precipitation has exacerbated an ongoing drought. Eighty one counties in Minnesota are currently covered by U.S. Department of Agriculture disaster declarations for drought.

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 Impacted businesses in counties with a drought declaration can apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The loans are designed to help businesses get through emergency situations that have impacted their economic well-being. Under the EIDL program, businesses can borrow up to $2 million to cover their actual losses. Businesses pay no interest on the loan for the first year and a maximum rate of four percent for the rest of the loan period. In order to take advantage of the program, businesses must apply by the application deadline for their county, listed below.

 There are 81 counties in Minnesota covered by 13 disaster declarations. Business owners can learn more about eligibility, find an application, and learn more about application deadlines for their county at the SBA’s disaster assistance page.

Businesses impacted by a lack of precipitation will enter their county’s name and see a list of all open disasters for their county. They should pick one where the incident includes “drought.”

Submit applications and find additional disaster assistance information at https://lending.sba.gov. Applicants may also contact Minnesota’s Small Business Development Centers and SBA’s Customer Service Center at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. You can also call 800-659-2955 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.