As Berrien County businesses prepared to return to work safely, it's important you have the right guidance and equipment to protect employees, customers and yourselves. Below is a Resource Guide that provides tips from the Center for Disease Control, Spectrum Health Lakeland and other reputable sources for a safe return. Also below are local companies with the capacity to supply personal protection equipment (PPE) for your business and employees.
Employer Toolkit by Spectrum Health Lakeland
Spectrum Health's guidance to Southwest Michigan businesses as they adapt to operating in a new environment with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Employer Toolkit will help businesses, no matter where they are in the process, whether it is navigating reopening to the community, welcoming employees back on-site or adapting to a new environment. The guide includes expert tips, best practices, checklists and ready-to-use signage and more. The Employer Toolkit can be found by clicking on the photo to the right or by clicking here.
Southwest Michigan’s economic vitality is critical to the health and prosperity of its residents. Cornerstone Alliance has created a working guide to assist local businesses in fully reopening in a safe, organized and effective manner. The specific recommendations in each category support the overall goal of opening businesses in a way that protects employees and customers from exposure to COVID-19 and to prevent spreading of the virus. This Guide for a safe reopening will be updated based on the most current guidance available from local, state and federal resources. You can access the Resource Guide here.
Journeyman Distillery (hand sanitizer)
Edgewater Automation (face shields and thermometers)
Edgewater Automation, based in St. Joseph, manufactures custom automation equipment. The company has been producing custom face shields for first responders since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Edgewater Automation can produce face shields for Berrien County businesses as they reopen. The company also has access to no-touch thermometers. These products can be secured by calling Jacob Brown, HR Manager. Jacob can be reached at (269) 408-4056 or via email.
Competitive Edge (personal protection equipment)
Doubleday Office Products (personal protection equipment)
Thayer Products (personal protection equipment)
Thayer Products, based in downtown Benton Harbor, has been in the janitorial, chemical, paper, and safety supply business since 1946. Thayer has gloves, masks, shields, sleeves, aprons, bouffants, disinfectants, sanitizers and paper goods of all kinds. For information on Thayer products, you should call them at (269) 925-0633.
Eagle Technologies (medical and personal protection equipment)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation partnered with Michigan Women Forward to create the $1.5 million Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund which will provide recovery grants of $1,000-$5,000 and microloans of $5,000-$10,000 to small businesses who are in need and have been adversely affected by COVID-19 closures, with at least 150 businesses statewide expected to benefit. Small businesses interested in applying for support through the Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund can do so now by visiting here.
The MIOSHA Workplace Improvement to Safety and Health (MIWISH) Grant Program awards qualifying employers a dollar-for-dollar match – up to $5,000 – to purchase safety and health-related equipment and equipment-related training. The goal of the program is to create a safer and healthier work environment and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan. Apply here.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will provide grants up to $10,000 through a Sam's Club grant. This emergency assistance is what small businesses desperately need. LISC will focus these efforts on historically underserved communities—especially those enterprises owned or led by women, minorities and veterans, which often lack access to affordable capital. Register here to receive updates about this grant information.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will use the Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Register here to stay up-to-date on the latest information.
Samuel Adams and The Greg Hill Foundation are bringing the successful Restaurant Strong Fund to 20 total states to aid the restaurant workers impacted by the Covid-19 closures. Restaurants in Michigan can apply for the Restaurant Strong grant here.
As the world faces the biggest pandemic in our lifetime, CORE wants to continue their mission to provide support to food and beverage service employees, with children, who have been medically diagnosed with COVID-19. Documentation is required. You can find more information and an application here.
Businesses in Michigan have access to low-interest loans for small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. To apply, you can locate the online application here. If you prefer to submit your application by mail, please print, complete and return your application.
The Federal Reserve is taking additional actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the U.S. economy with the creation of a Main Street Lending Program (Main Street Program) to provide financing to lenders that make direct loans to main street businesses. The Federal Reserve will work with banks to give out up to $600 billion in four-year loans. These loans would be at least $1 million and could go up to a maximum of $25 million. This emergency loan program will support small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the pandemic and that may be too small to access broader capital markets or the Federal Reserve’s facilities supporting larger corporates, or that may not qualify for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. More information on the program can be found here.
The Microloan Program and Women’s Business Center are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made requested at least two weeks in advance. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs). Cornerstone Alliance and the Renaissance Development Fund are equal opportunity providers and employers.
Senator LaSata was elected in November 2018 to represent the people of the 21st Senate District in Southwest Michigan, which includes Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph Counties.
LaSata bill to help villages deal with delinquent taxes - May 27, 2020
State Representative Pauline Wendzel represents the 79th District, which includes part of Berrien County including the cities of Coloma, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Bridgman and Watervliet, as well as the townships of Bainbridge, Benton, Coloma, Hagar, Lake Charter, Lincoln, Royalton, St. Joseph and Watervliet. Representative Wendzel recently supported a $25 million emergency budget action plan addressing challenges due to Coronavirus.
In the News:
Guidance for Individuals to determine if they can leave home.
Guidance for Businesses to determine who can perform in-person work.