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Denver Announces Initial Economic Relief Package for Businesses, Employees

These programs are aimed at supporting businesses so they can support their employees

ColoradoBiz Staff //March 20, 2020//

Denver Announces Initial Economic Relief Package for Businesses, Employees

These programs are aimed at supporting businesses so they can support their employees

ColoradoBiz Staff //March 20, 2020//

The City and County of Denver is committed to identifying, developing and implementing local programs, including financial and wrap-around services, to support Denver business owners and their employees affected by the city’s public health response to COVID-19. The city is creating an initial relief fund of $4 million to support small businesses during this time. The city’s primary goal is to help the people most directly impacted by the disruptions caused by COVID-19. These programs are aimed at supporting businesses so they can support their employees. 

Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO) is setting up an emergency relief program to provide cash grants up to $7,500 to qualifying small businesses. The highest priority will be the industries most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, such as the food industry. These businesses may have had to temporarily close, are struggling with paying their rent and utilities, or have had to lay off staff.  

DEDO, in partnership with CEDS Finance, will refocus an existing microloan program to support small businesses’ stabilization efforts. Current recipients of loans from DEDO will have the ability to temporarily defer loan payments, should they need to. 

The city will be working in partnership with Mile High United Way and Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) to distribute the cash grants and microloan fund. The city and DDP are also working together on expanding business relief funding and will be reaching out to the business community to amplify the impact of the small business support through donations.   

Through the existing IMAGINE 2020 Artist Assistance Fund, Denver Arts & Venues (DAV) will award grants up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Denver whose incomes are being adversely affected due to cancellation of events, classes, performances and other creative work. The Artist Assistance Fund will be made available for, but is not limited to: 

  • recouping financial losses due to cancelled events;  
  • reimbursement for travel expenses related to creative work that was paid for by the artist; and  
  • offsetting loss of income for teaching artists who could not teach during this time because of cancelled classes and school closures. 
  • DAV is committed to the well-being of artists in our community and recognizes the serious financial impact the current health pandemic is having on their livelihoods. Applications from all artists living in Denver are welcomed and priority will be placed on lower income artists and artists who have no other source of income. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Funding will be determined on a first-come, first-serve basis and based on eligibility and level of need. 

The Denver Department of Finance (DOF) will waive the 15% penalty for late payment of February and March sales, use and occupational privilege taxes due March 20 and April 20, 2020. The return must be filed and funds remitted within 30 days of the due date. DOF will evaluate extension of the waiver on a month-by-month basis. 

For the next 30 days, the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) will suspend enforcement of the following

  • Parking meters (All meters will be free and without time limits.) 
  • Time-limited, non-metered parking areas (e.g., 30-minute, 1-hour, 2-hour, etc.) 
  • Residential Permit Parking areas 
  • 72-hour parking limits (Residents and visitors can park their vehicles in one spot for more than 72 hours.) 
  • Large vehicle parking (People can park trucks and other vehicles more than 22’ in length on the street.) 
  • School bus loading zones 
  • Booting 

Denver’s street sweeping program will begin April 1; however, the city will not enforce parking restrictions related to street sweeping for 30 days. People who are able to move their cars on street sweeping day are asked to do so to allow street sweepers to reach the curb line and more effectively sweep. 

The following enforcement activities will continue

  • Fire hydrant zone clear areas (10 ft. clear around hydrants) 
  • "No Stopping" or "No Parking" zones to promote safety 
  • Loading zones – Passenger, Truck, Permitted, General, Temporary, etc. 
  • RTD transit stops 
  • Special parking permitted spaces, including accessible spaces, CarShare, church zones, fire zones 
  • Blocked driveways and alleys 
  • Parking in travel lanes, including bike and transit lanes  

DOTI will evaluate an extension of the above enforcement changes on a month-by-month basis. For more information, and how to apply for the various relief funding opportunities, please visit  

Agencies will work with City Council to establish a special revenue fund for the DEDO programs and complete other contracting requirements to initiate the programs. 

DEDO will be working with the state and federal governments on next steps for our businesses to have the ability to apply for the Small Business Association’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These loans could provide up to $2 million to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury resulting from a declared disaster, like COVID-19.  

The city is working to secure commitments from corporate partners to advance additional support for businesses and employees and is supporting efforts by the banking industry to obtain regulatory authority to provide deferrals for loan payments. Denver International Airport is working with airlines and the aviation industry to support federal action to provide relief to aviation workers and supporting businesses.  

To support job seekers while the city’s Workforce Centers are physically closed, workforce services will be offering 1:1 services online, by phone and via email. In-person hiring events have also been changed into a month-long virtual job fair where job-seekers can access the same job opportunities they would be able to at our in-person job fairs. For more information, please visit 

A full city team is working around the clock in partnership with a number of nonprofit, philanthropic and private industry partners to ensure everyone is cared for. These efforts include lining up volunteers to support our residents who cannot leave their homes and need meal delivery, standing up warming centers during this snow storm for residents experiencing homelessness, actively supporting state and federal efforts to provide relief to our community, and much more. Residents can do their part to support this work by donating blood, volunteering their time and donating goods and money through Mile High United Way. We urge people to remain calm, enjoy spending time with family, find something that makes you laugh, exercise patience, follow the public health recommendations and support one another – even virtually.