City of Detroit Releases Small Business Playbook, Resources to Help with Reopening

The city of Detroit has released a Small Business Playbook with protocols that can be adapted for different kinds of businesses to implement a safe return to work. The playbook is part of an effort developed by the city in partnership with government, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations to get small businesses ready to reopen.
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Detroit skyline
Detroit has launched Detroit Means Business, an initiative designed to help small businesses reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic. // Stock photo

The city of Detroit has released a Small Business Playbook with protocols that can be adapted for different kinds of businesses to implement a safe return to work. The playbook is part of an effort developed by the city in partnership with government, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations to get small businesses ready to reopen.

The businesses will be able to open once Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declares the state in Phase 4 of her restart plan, which is the improving phase.

The playbook, which the city’s Health Department released, includes guidance on employee testing, daily temperature checks and health screenings, obtaining and correctly using personal protective equipment, social distancing and workspace practices, worksite sanitation protocols, sick and exposure policies, and physical changes to workspaces for safety.

“We are getting closer to the day when Gov. Whitmer will allow a whole new range of small businesses to reopen, and we want Detroit small businesses ready to be the first in the state to have a plan in place and reopen their doors when she does,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “By following the listed standards, the city of Detroit has found that its employees can return to work safely and actually have lower infection rates than Detroiters who stay home.”

Detroit Means Business, as the reopening initiative is called, will provide financial, technical, and safety resources.

“Once businesses are cleared to open under our safety protocols, they are still going to have significant need for other forms of support, whether that is access to financing, developing a more robust online presence, or other forms of technical support,” Duggan says. “The tremendous work of our partners will ensure that Detroit continues to be a leader in safely responding to this crisis.”

Support is available for businesses operating in the city, with an emphasis on businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Detroit’s medical team has vetted all information and tools, and the program will be rolled out in phases.

The first phase began Monday with the launch of DetroitMeansBusiness.org, which offers reopening guidelines, basic financial resources, and pre-recorded webinars.

The second phase will launch in the next week. It will eventually include a call center designed to assist business owners with all facets of the program. Additional resources will include access to safe personal protective equipment donated by DTE Energy; technical support on safe procedures, including one-on-one coaching and live webinars; and assistance with financial resources.

“DTE is committed to doing everything we can to support Michigan’s businesses and communities in this critical time – especially small businesses, who are a key driver of job creation and employment,” says Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy. “We’re proud to stand with the partners that created the efforts behind Detroit Means Business. Together, we’re proving we will get through this crisis. DTE has been working extensively to obtain as many masks as possible for our communities and the businesses who need them. The PPE resources will help Detroit’s small businesses keep their employees and customers safe as they reopen their doors to the community.”

Detroit businesses and nonprofits put the program together based on individual expertise and resources.

“At the New Economy Initiative, we have seen the positive impact of a community network of business support organizations coming together to support small businesses, especially those who are often disconnected from traditional resources,” says Pamela Lewis, director of the New Economy Initiative. “To see private, public, and philanthropic leaders working together to respond to the needs of our community’s small businesses during this crisis is encouraging. The ability of small businesses to safely reopen and successfully operate during this crisis is critical to small business customers, the thousands of residents they employ, and to the economic well-being of our community. Detroit Means Business will leverage the community network already in place to support all of Detroit’s small businesses and their courageous owners.”

The program will continue to be updated as new protocols are announced and tools become available. To learn more about available resources, to view the playbook, or for help with hiring additional workers, businesses can visit DetroitMeansBusiness.org.

“Small business has been at the heart of Bedrock Detroit’s strategy ever since Dan Gilbert purchased his first building, The Madison, 10 years ago,” says Matt Cullen, CEO of Bedrock. “Entrepreneurs are the people who help shape the identity of a city and make it truly special, and we are proud to be a part of this group of public and private partners joining together to help our local businesses reopen safely and successfully.”

The coalition behind the initiative continues to evolve. It currently includes the following and is acting in collaboration with other organizations.

  • Bank of America
  • Bedrock
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • City of Detroit
  • Comerica Bank
  • Detroit at Work
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Detroit Future City
  • DTE Energy
  • DTE Energy Foundation
  • First Independence Bank
  • Flagstar Bank
  • Gyro Creative
  • Huntington Bank
  • Invest Detroit
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • Michigan Women Forward
  • New Economy Initiative
  • One Detroit Credit Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Quicken Loans Community Fund
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
  • Rock Connections
  • Small Business Association of Michigan
  • State of Michigan
  • TCF Bank
  • TechTown Detroit
  • University of Michigan
  • Vectorform
  • Walker-Miller Energy Services
  • Wayne State University
  • William Davidson Foundation

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