Anoka County Government Center & Courthouse.jpg

The Anoka County Government Center and Courthouse in Anoka (File photo by Jonathan Young)

Area businesses can expect additional relief from Anoka County starting early in 2021.

During an emergency meeting Dec. 22 county commissioners approved two measures designed to help local businesses stay afloat.

The first measure extended the deadline for food, beverage and lodging licensees to renew their licenses — they now have until March 31, 2021. The second was a new aid program, funded by the state, with an expanded list of criteria.

Priority will be given to businesses and nonprofits impacted by executive order 20-99, which closed restaurants to in-person dining in the fall, as well as businesses that had not received money under previous rounds of coronavirus relief, according to board documents.

Commissioner Julie Braastad explained that the state made it clear this money was supposed to be distributed quickly to help those left behind by earlier rounds of assistance.

“As we met and were talking through these guidelines or parameters, we’ve tried to make it as inclusive and as simple as possible,” Braastad said.

Applicants must have a physical establishment in Anoka County, demonstrate financial hardship due to the pandemic, have generated $10,000 or more through the end of 2020 and be licensed (if applicable) and in good standing with local government regulations.

Nonprofits, including those with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(9) designations, are eligible. Chambers of commerce are also eligible, but no other nonprofits with the 501(c)(6) designation may receive this money. Other newly eligible recipients include freelance performing artists, musicians and entertainers such as actors.

Businesses that started during the pandemic are eligible for funds but will have to provide clear documentation of the pandemic’s impact on their business. Start-up costs are not eligible, according to county documents.

The amount an organization is eligible for is based on how many full-time workers it employed as of Feb. 1, 2020, or when the business opened. Businesses with 20 or fewer employees are eligible for up to $15,000 in relief, while businesses with 300 or more can expect up to $45,000.

Chambers of commerce are eligible for up to $15,000 if they have 200 or fewer members or up to $25,000 if they have over 200 members.

Home-based businesses are eligible for up to $10,000.if they have at least one W-2 employee in addition to the principal.

“We are not going to hand out these grants willy-nilly,” Board Chair Scott Schulte said. “We are going to make sure the companies, businesses, people that are receiving these dollars are truly, not only in need, but deserving.”

The application will be available starting in early January and funds must be distributed by March 15, 2021. More information and assistance can be found at


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