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.
MEDC Awards $4.4M in Low-interest Loans to 74 Michigan Small Businesses
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., in conjunction with nine local economic development organizations, today announced it has awarded $4.4 million in low-interest loans to 74 small businesses in 40 counties across Michigan in the first round of loans awarded through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program.
The program builds on $10 million in grants awarded to more than 2,700 businesses through the program last month.
The Michigan Small Business Relief program was authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund to provide relief for small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Loans through the program are intended to support small businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business. The full list of businesses receiving loans so far through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program is available here.
Southfield to Begin Phased Re-opening of Municipal Campus June 15
City of Southfield offices will begin a phased re-opening to the public with limited access beginning on Monday, June 15. The Parks & Recreation Department and Southfield Public Library will remain closed with gradual re-openings yet to be determined.
Numerous new public safety protocols, procedures, and social distancing barriers have been put into place, including safe social distancing floor stickers installed throughout all public areas as well as floor tape directing foot traffic and interaction. Safety glass partitions have been installed in all public buildings throughout the Donald F. Fracassi Municipal Campus to reduce exposure and contact while providing a safer customer service interaction for both residents and city staff.
“The health, safety, and welfare of the community is of the utmost importance,” says Fred Zorn, city administrator. “We have taken every measure available to help ensure the safety of both the public and staff, including more than $250,000 in facility upgrades and improvements designed to provide that level of protection.”
City departments have submitted Resumption of In-Person Service and Continuity of Operations Plans (COOPs) to Administration which have been integrated into the City’s overall COVID-19 Response and Operations Resumption Plan. All individuals will be required to wear facemasks and to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) before entering any city office or facility. If anyone is symptomatic, they are prohibited from entering city buildings.
Public meetings of the city council and city boards and commissions will continue to be conducted virtually until further notice. The city council agendas and meeting schedule are available here.
Southfield’s Parks & Recreation Department has cancelled all summer programming, including all classes, programs, camps, special events, athletic leagues, and senior programs and trips through at least Aug. 31. The Southfield Sports Arena pool also will be closed for the season, however, Evergreen Hills Golf Course and all Southfield parks and nature preserves will remain open. Beech Woods Driving Range, Municipal Campus Tennis Courts, and the Community Garden at Mary Thompson Farm also are open.
For more information, continue to check www.cityofsouthfield.com or call Southfield Parks and Recreation at 248-796-4620.
MaskClub.com to Launch Kid-sized Superhero and Cartoon Character Face Masks
MaskClub, the first subscription-based buy-one, donate-one online mask destination, is expanding its mask offerings with a new line of kid-sized masks, in response to new CDC recommendations that all people over the age of 3 wear a face covering when in a community setting.
These new kid-sized masks are available in exclusive designs and will help parents prepare for their young ones to participate in summer activities and head back to school, with many schools adopting face mask policies.
The new child-sized masks from MaskClub – a company from Madison Heights-based Trevco – are double-ply cloth masks printed and sewn in the USA with designs from “Sesame Street,” “Superman,” “Batman,” “Wonder Woman,” and Nickelodeon favorites like “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “JoJo Siwa,” “Blues Clues and You!,” “PAW Patrol,” and more.
To fit kids’ faces and ears, the masks feature smaller fabric areas and shorter elastic bands. The company recognizes that wearing a face mask can be an adjustment for kids, but the thousands of playful designs makes it easier for parents and kids to wear masks.
“In these unprecedented times, we wanted to help families adjust to the new normal by creating kid-friendly face coverings,” says Trevor George, founder of Trevco. “With MaskClub, the whole family can now get matching masks from superheroes to cartoon characters like Elmo or Cookie monster, familiar characters that kids know and love.”
For every mask purchase, the company will donate a medical grade mask to First Responders Children’s Foundation for distribution to paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters, and medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients. To date, MaskClub has donated 100,000 medical masks to first responders.
MaskClub is the first and only company to offer a mask subscription model, where customers will receive a new mask every month from their favorite brand. Subscriptions are $9.99 per month, almost 30 pecent off single-mask purchases ($13.99), and customers will have access to exclusive art and exclusive brand launches in the future.
For more information on adult and kid masks, visit here.
Sam’s Club Launches Curbside Pickup Nationwide
Sam’s Club today announced the nationwide launch of curbside pickup. The service, which provides a contact-free, order online and delivery to car shopping experience, will be free for Plus-level members and is expected to be available in all clubs by the end of June.
Curbside pickup is part of a list of Plus membership benefits, which also includes early shopping hours, free shipping on most online items, 2 percent cash back on qualifying in-club and pickup purchases, and more.
Sam’s Club has been piloting curbside pickup at 16 clubs with positive results from families and business owners. The company is expediting the rollout – taking it to all 597 clubs – to appeal to customer shopping preferences and growing desires for convenient options that fit into consumer’s lives.
“Sam’s Club members have been integrating technology into their shopping habits for a while with Scan and Go, samsclub.com, and in-club pickup,” says Lance de la Rosa, COO of Sam’s Club. “As we continue to innovate to make the shopping experience better and faster for our members, we’re proud to be able to quickly implement and offer curbside pickup across the country, particularly during a time when they are searching for alternative ways to shop.”
For more information, visit here.
Grand Haven Company Unveils Lunch-sized Personal Ovens in Time for Father’s Day
Grand Haven-based HotLogic is offering a lunch-sized portable personal oven just in time for Father’s Day.
“When dads head back to the office, lunchtime will look different,” says Bill McKendry, chief marketing officer for HotLogic. “New social distancing requirements and closed cafeterias and breakrooms will present returning employees with a myriad of challenges like avoiding high touchpoints like the microwave to cook and heat your food in.”
HotLogic products work with glass, plastic, paperboard, and metal foil containers. They have a built-in heating platform that will never burn food or cause a fire hazard.
The personal tote is available for $39.95. For more information, visit here.
Collecting Bikes for Children in Need in Birmingham on June 20
With some summer programming and sports leagues for children altered or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dan Gutfreund Realty Group is teaming with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Re-CYCLE for Kids program, along with 1-800-Self-Storage.com, the Birmingham Police Department, and the Sheriff PAL Program Oakland County, to collect new and used bicycles and helmets for Oakland County children and adults in need.
New or used bikes of all sizes as well as bike accessories may be dropped off contact-free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, at the 1-800-Self-Storage.com moving truck parked at the junction of Woodward Avenue and South Old Woodward Avenue in Birmingham (across from the Sherwin Williams Paint Store).
Volunteers will be on hand to remove bikes from vehicles, following all CDC social distancing guidelines, wearing gloves and masks. Individuals dropping off a bike are asked to stay in their car, or if they do prefer to unload their bike, to practice social distancing and wear a mask.
“Not only is bike riding a fun activity for friends and families, but studies also show that a 30-minute bike ride actually improves memory, relieves stress, and can have positive effects on cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Dan Gutfreund, owner of the realty group. “More than ever, the need is now, as people are packing up their homes to move or cleaning out their garages, we ask them to be on the lookout for bikes that can be donated to the Sheriff’s Re-CYCLE program.”
Bikes also may be dropped off at any of the Sheriff’s Office 12 substations around Oakland County or at 800SelfStorage.com locations in Troy, Oak Park, and Rochester during regular business hours, throughout the year. For more information about Sheriff’s Re-CYCLE, visit here.
Assistance for Small Businesses
Mi Local Biz is a 1:1 is a matching crowdfunding program overseen by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Small business owners who participate can receive matching funds for up to $5,000 raised through crowdfunding. Eligible businesses retail products and or services face-to-face within the state of Michigan including restaurants, bars, coffee shops, cafes, salons, day spas, bakeries, retail shops, and hardware Stores. They must have 25 or fewer employees and demonstrate income loss as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
For more information, visit here.
Triumph Church in Southfield, Central City Integrated Health, and Authority Health will offer COVID-19 or antibody drive-thru testing by appointment only from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, June 15 at the church’s north campus (15600 J.L. Hudson Dr. in Southfield).
Only one test (COVID-19 or antibody) may be selected. There is no cost to the patient. The event is open to adults and children six years of age or older. Appointments can be made by registering online here.
In Related News: Effective today, Henry Ford Allegiance Health’s COVID-19 Drive-Through Screening and Testing Center in Jackson is moving to a new location — the Henry Ford Allegiance Specialty Center parking lot, located at 110 N. Elm Ave. Community members who want to be tested for COVID-19 are asked to call the Henry Ford MyCare Advice Line at 313-874-7500 to be screened and to schedule an appointment. The Drive-Through Screening and Testing Center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
New App Analyzes How Social Distancing Affects Biological Clocks
An app built by University of Michigan researchers in Ann Arbor is designed to help users understand their own sleep rhythms, shedding light on how their biological clock is responding to COVID-19-related lockdowns, and give tips about how to shift their potentially disrupted rhythms to a more appropriate time.
The data generated by the app also could give scientists an unprecedented opportunity to examine disruption in circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are internal clocks in our cells that regulate when we sleep, when we wake, when we eat, and even our digestion. If these clocks are disrupted, a cascade of ill effects may occur, including a weakened immune system.
The new Social Rhythms iOS app assesses how a person’s circadian rhythm changed before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The app allows users to understand how their own body clocks have been impacted and provide researchers with anonymized data to study the impact of disrupted circadian rhythms on a person’s health.
The app will help the U-M researchers build a vast database of information about circadian rhythms. The data will be stripped of identifying information but will allow the researchers to study how this kind of disruption impacts a person’s health and compare an individual’s health as a consequence of circadian rhythm shifts. Participants can delete their data at any time.
Forger and his group, in collaboration with Chris Stockbridge of the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Information Technology, originally were developing this app to study major life events such as having a baby or beginning work on a night shift. But then, the coronavirus crisis happened.
The app is available at the Apple App Store.
Emagine Macomb Opening for Curbside Concession Carry Out June 13
Emagine Entertainment is opening Emagine Macomb (15251 23 Mile Rd. in Macomb
Township) for carry out concessions and gift card sales starting on Saturday, June 13 from noon to 7 p.m.
Among the goodies available are curbside combos, family size popcorn, nachos, chicken tenders, candy, cotton candy, pretzel bites, cookie dough, and more. Phone lines to place orders will open on Saturday at 11 a.m. at 586-372-3456. For more information, visit here.
Paul Glantz, chairman of Emagine Entertainment, which is based in Troy, was a guest this week on DBusiness magazine’s new podcast “How to Grow Your Business.” To hear his views on the state of the movie business, visit here.
EyesOn Design Changes Gears Due to Pandemic
Car enthusiasts looking for some stunning rolling sculpture normally would have headed to the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House on Jefferson Avenue in Grosse Pointe Shores on June 21 for the 33rd annual EyesOn Design Automotive Design Exhibition. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and the event was moved to Father’s Day 2021.
Instead on this Father’s Day, the first-ever “EyesOn Design Sunday Drive: A Father’s Day Pop-Up Event” will take place.
“This will be a casual, with-regular-traffic event,” says Kathy Pecar Lightbody, chairperson of EyesOn Design. “We are allowing 200 cars to come into the Ford House grounds to have their picture taken in front of the estate. Other cars are welcome to make rounds along Lake Shore Drive at their leisure between 2 and 4 p.m., roughly between the Grosse Pointe War Memorial and the Ford House. This should also make a splendid opportunity for spectators who want to watch the cars drive along beautiful Lake St Clair.”
The theme for the Sunday Drive, is the same as it would have been for the full event: Marques of Extinction: Significant Designs of Bygone Brands. The 200 on-the-grounds participants will be notified about their selection on Sunday, June 14.
Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti has announced the EMU Single Room Guarantee for students enrolling and living in campus residence halls for the fall semester. Under the plan, a single room without a roommate will be available to every student who wants one. Students who wish to have a roommate will continue to have that option.
“We are pleased to be able to offer this important safety feature – a single room for everyone who wants one,” says James Smith, president of EMU. “Student safety is our number one priority and keeping students further apart from one another is an important component of our #EMUSafe initiative for the fall semester.
“We have heard from many students and parents about this issue,” he says. “They question how students can practice safe physical distancing when they have a roommate in close proximity to them in a residence hall room. We understand a single room may not be for everyone, but we also know and have heard from many who desire such accommodations at this time.”
Eastern Michigan University is the only public university in Michigan to currently offer a single room to everyone who wants one.
Single rooms typically cost approximately $2,500 a year more than a shared, double room. Under the new plan, and to encourage single-room occupancy, the university is offering a credit to reduce the annual cost of a single room to $100 per month more than the cost of sharing a double room. That amounts to $800 annually. This credit provides an annual savings to those who choose to live in a single room of $1,700 over the typical single room rate.
For more on information about #EMUSafe and the EMU Single Room Guarantee, visit here.