COVID-19 Update: Casino Closures Lead to Millions in Lost Revenue, 5,000 Small Businesses and Nonprofits to Get $100M in CARES Act Funds, Entrepreneurs Receive Support, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of July 14

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Casino Closures Lead to Hundreds of Millions in Lost Revenue
The closure of Detroit’s casinos as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have cost the operators hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue, and the state and the city of Detroit tens of millions of dollars in taxes and other payments, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Closed since March 16 due to the coronavirus emergency, Detroit’s casinos reported revenue of $299.2 million in the first half of 2020, compared to $735.4 million in the first six months of 2019, a decrease of $436.2 million or 59.3 percent.

MGM Grand Detroit was the hardest hit with losses of $188.6 million, a decrease of 59.8 percent. MotorCity Casino lost $147.9 million so far this year, a 59 percent decrease. Greektown Casino brought in $99.7 million less than during the same period last year for a 58.7 percent loss.

As a result, the casinos, which paid $59.5 million in state gaming taxes in the first half of 2019, paid $24.2 million so far in 2020, a decrease of $35.3 million.

The city of Detroit also is feeling the pinch of the closed gaming houses. They have paid the city  $35.6 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments, compared to $87.5 million for the same six-month period last year, a $51.9 million decrease.

MEDC to Distribute $100M in CARES Act Funds to 5,000 Small Businesses and Nonprofits
As many as 5,000 Michigan small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 will receive grants up to $20,000 from $100 million in CARES Act funds through the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced today. The application process is now open.

By supporting the state’s small enterprises and nonprofits, the program is intended to help workers and their families facing economic uncertainty during the pandemic. Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria and program guidelines are available here.

The funding will be distributed across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state.

In the metro Detroit area, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. will be distributing $15,545,450 in assistance; Oakland County, $11,045,455; and Macomb County, $7,545,455.

Other participating EDOs include:

  • Invest UP ($4,545,455)
  • Networks Northwest ($4,545.455)
  • Otsego County Economic Alliance ($3.5 million)
  • Target Alpena ($3.5 million)
  • The Right Place ($9,545,455)
  • Lakeshore Advantage ($3.5 million)
  • Middle Michigan Development Corp. ($3.5 million)
  • Saginaw Future ($3,545,455)
  • Flint and Genesee Chamber ($8,045,455)
  • Lansing Economic Area Partnership ($5,545,455)
  • Southwest Michigan First ($7,545,455)
  • Ann Arbor Spark ($8,545,455)

The program’s application period will be live through Aug. 5.  Grants will be awarded after the close of the application period based on criteria that are defined by the EDOs. Funds can be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses.

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria, based on statutory requirements for the program:

  • Is a business or nonprofit with fewer than 50 employees that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses.
  • Demonstrates an income loss as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

Additionally, at least 30 percent of the funds awarded under the program must be provided to women-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned eligible businesses.

“We have taken this program from words on a page to full deployment in two weeks to ensure we can start getting these funds into the hands of small businesses and nonprofits across Michigan and continue to set a path to economic recovery here in our state,” says Mark A. Burton, CEO of MEDC. “The Michigan Small Business Restart program will provide a significant opportunity to address immediate needs of small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by COVID-19. Combined with other MSF programs and services, as well as local and federal economic development support, we can help ensure small businesses throughout the state to recover from the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The $15 million Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program application process also is now live and can be found here. This program will support the implementation of COVID-19 monitoring and mitigation strategies to protect agricultural employees and the state’s overall food production industry, including PPE, testing, employee training, and housing needs to ensure appropriate social distancing.

94 Entrepreneurs Receive $565,750 in Financial Support
Ninety-four small businesses have received grants totaling $565,750 from the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Women Forward announced today.

Launched by the MEDC with Michigan Women Forward in May in response to the economic impacts of the pandemic on underserved communities, the fund is intended to help entrepreneurs and small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 recover from the pandemic, as well as assist them in meeting increased demands in support of COVID-19 response efforts.

While funds are exhausted, there still are more than $500,000 in funds available for small microloans to reopen Michigan businesses. Small businesses interested in applying for microloan support through the program can visit here.

“The impact this fund has already had for small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the state has been critical to ensuring our local economies can continue thriving long after this crisis has passed,” says Josh Hundt, chief business development officer at MEDC.

Funds awarded through the program can be used to support small businesses in managing expenses including rent, payroll, and inventory, due to the significant economic impacts of COVID-19. The fund also can advance business growth by providing working capital to assist with increased product or service demand in response to COVID-19, to allow a company to revamp their business virtually through a strengthened online presence, or to start up a company to meet a new demand as a result of COVID-19.

“This funding is often the difference between opening or not opening their business back up,” says Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of Michigan Women Forward.

State Provides Toolkit to Help Michigan Businesses Stay Safe
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is offering the state’s businesses the tools necessary to protect their workers and remain safely open.

Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that businesses open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply with wearing a face covering, businesses must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside.

To assist employers with this requirement, a print-ready poster that businesses may use is available online. It is available here, along with guidelines, posters for employees and customers, factsheets, educational videos and a reopening checklist to keep workplaces safe.

More information on the benefits of mask wearing to stop the spread of COVID-19 can be found here.

United Way Launches Online Child Care Portal for Parents
A new, free online tool soon will serve as a one-stop-shop for parents and caregivers of children aged 5 and younger to help them find early childhood education and care options in Detroit. It will also point them to programs to help with costs.

Created in partnership by United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the city of Detroit, Connect4Care Kids gives parents and caregivers locations, determines eligibility, and connects to programs offering assistance to low-income families.

Head Start, Great Start Readiness Program, and Michigan’s Child Care and Development subsidy are among the available resources. The site will be hosted on United Way’s website.

“Access to early childhood learning and care are vital to helping children and families thrive,” says Dr. Darienne Hudson, president and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “We know the benefits for early childhood learning on the child’s development and, particularly as we’ve seen recently, it’s vital to parents returning to work. Connect4Care Kids is a comprehensive tool that will help parents connect with care options across the city. It empowers busy parents to search one site for care options from their phone in a matter of a few minutes.”

To access these resources, visit or text Kids to 4Care.

Ally Challenge Adds Online Charity Auction
A new charity initiative will accompany the Ally Challenge presented by McLaren PGA Tour Champions event at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc this year.

Beginning on Monday, July 20 and ending after the final round of the July 31-Aug. 2 tournament, local fans and those from around the country can bid on items in an online auction, the proceeds from which will benefit causes supported by The Ally Challenge, primarily the United Way of Genesee County.

“The online charity auction, together with the Birdies for Charity presented by Ally program, will help anchor the tournament’s philanthropic initiatives in 2020,” says Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally. “Giving back is at the center of everything we do at the Ally Challenge, and the tremendous impact of the coronavirus pandemic in our community and beyond makes that mission more critical now than ever.”

In other tournament news, the field of competitors for the third annual event will include reigning champion Jerry Kelly, and nine out of the top 10 from the 2019 Charles Schwab Cup standings. Ernie Els, Mike Weir, Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, and John Daly also have committed to play in the Grand Blanc event.

Forgotten Harvest and Episcopal Church to Distribute Food in Pontiac
Forgotten Harvest, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and other food pantries are partnering to distribute food at Oakland HOPE (20 E. Walton Blvd.) in Pontiac on Tuesday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Other participating organizations include Greater Lansing Food Bank and Gleaners Community Food.

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