Businesses across the City of Worcester, especially small businesses, have been impacted by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemmic. To help lessen the strain, businesses can take advantage of a variety of local, state and federal assistance programs and grants.
Pursuant to the Governor's June 2, 2020 Order and the City Manager's June 3, 2020 Executive Order, the City of Worcester is accepting applications for the temporary extension of restaurants to provide for outdoor table service. Once reviewed and approved by the Worcester License Commission, restaurants will be able to offer expanded outdoor dining options under Phase II of the Commonwealth's re-opening plan. This expedited application process will significantly decrease the timeframe for extending existing restaurants into outdoor spaces, and additionally offer expanded opportunities for outdoor dining.
To facilitate the expedited application process, the Worcester License Commission is scheduling additional meetings to review and process applications under the City's temporary outdoor dining program.
There is no fee to apply for a temporary outdoor dining extension:
For more information, email OutdoorDining@worcesterma.gov (preferred) or call 508-799-1400 x31440.
Numerous Federal, State and Local programs and policy changes have been introduced to provide small business assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach the City's Economic Development Office staff, email email@example.com
The City of Worcester (City) has established the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Grant to assist in the stabilization of existing small businesses within the City of Worcester that have had significant business disruption due to the impact of COVID-19. These grant funds will assist small business in the City of Worcester to cover wages, rent, loss of inventory, and other fixed costs. Grants are capped at $5,000 per business.
*NOTE: The second round of applications closed on Wednesday, May 6:
The City's grant staff speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Albanian and Portuguese. The City also has access to translation assistance for additional languages. Please email a request for assistance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City of Worcester is suspending until further notice all Microloan payments due to the City for small businesses within the City of Worcester that have participated in our microloan program.
The CARES Act established several new temporary SBA programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak:
The Baker-Polito Administration announced state tax relief to support businesses. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
If you are an employer in Central Massachusetts and have an immediate need to fill critical positions, the MassHire Central Region Workforce Board can connect you with those looking for employment.
Due to the historic Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium ordered by Governor Baker on April 20, 2020, and expired as of October 17, 2020, the City is aware that many residents and families in Worcester have struggled to keep up with rent and other financial obligations. On September 4, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued an order titled Temporarily Halt in Residential Evictions Due to the Spread of COVID-19. This order prohibits evictions for tenants meeting certain requirements until after December 31, 2020.
As part of the CDC eviction moratorium, tenants are required to provide their landlords with a declaration form that they are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. These forms can be found below.
State & Local Housing Resources
On October 12, 2020, Governor Baker announced that $100 million in RAFT funding is being made available for tenants struggling to pay rent. Locally, two agencies administer these funds - Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (CMHA) and RCAP Solutions, Inc. Additional information about RAFT and other program and how to apply for funding can be found on their websites:
The Worcester Together: Central Mass COVID-19 Fund aims to support organizations in Worcester County that are working with communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The focus of this Fund is rapid response to support organizations on the front lines of the pandemic.
Grants between $25,000 - $100,000 will be awarded to: