Beautiful Sunset Scenery of Sedona, Arizona

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August 4, 2021

$101.1 Million Visit Arizona Initiative Could Aid Your Business

Governor Doug Ducey has announced $101.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for the Visit Arizona initiative supporting tourism- and hospitality-related activities and businesses.

Program #1, the $25 million Visit Arizona Partnership Grant, is now open for applications. The grant program supports conferences, expositions, festivals, and other events that directly support jobs in the travel and hospitality sectors. The deadline for applying is August 31, and awardees will be announced not later than the end of September, 2021. Another funding application period will be offered in calendar 2022, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism. 

Other programs make up the balance of the $101.1 million in funding. 

The Initiative is  good news for Arizona and greater Sedona and may be an opportunity for your business to access additional federal support.  

Please see the Visit Arizona Initiative website to learn more, including application periods, eligibility requirements and permitted uses.  

If you’d like to be notified when future grant guidelines and applications open, you can register here.

Governor Ducey Announces Reinstatement of “Work Search Requirement” to Help Ease Labor Shortage 

The Order goes into effect the week of May 23. 

Arizona’s labor force currently is 100.09% compared to pre-pandemic levels, however many businesses are struggling to fill positions, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality sectors.” 

“SHUTTERED VENUE” GRANT APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN 

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

These grants are for live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations, museums, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives including those owned by local governments or community colleges. This includes nonprofits and for-profits. 

To prepare, in addition to registering in the System of Award Management database, you should reference the application checklist and eligibility requirements.

COVID Relief Bill 2021

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Package passed Congress on March 10, 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes federal assistance and supports recovery of small business and the tourism industry. Here are some key points to know about the plan:

  • $350 billion to states and local governments, with explicit authority given to allow funds to aid the travel and tourism industry.
  • $3 billion for Economic Development Administration grants, with 25% ($750 million) set aside for communities affected by job loss in travel and tourism.
  • Extends the Employee Retention Tax Credit through the end of 2021 and adds enhancements for businesses experiencing at least a 90% decline in revenue.
  • $7.25 billion to the Payroll Protection Program and allows larger nonprofits to qualify.
  • Extends a $300 per week jobless aid supplement until Sept. 6. It also makes an individual’s first $10,200 in jobless benefits tax-free.
  • The bill includes $1,400 in direct payments to individuals and families. The amount begins to lessen at $75,000 in income for individuals, capped at individuals who make $80,000. The thresholds for joint filers are double those limits. Eligibility will be determined on most recent filed tax return.
  • $12.7 billion for a national vaccination program, which creates community inoculation centers nationwide along with mobile units for hard-to-reach areas.
  • $50 billion to improve testing and contact tracing capabilities.

Vaccine Distribution

Make an appointment and stay updated on vaccine allocations, administration and locations in Coconino County and Yavapai County Health Department websites. To find COVID-19 testing sites near you, put in your ZIP code at Arizona Department of Health

Are your Sedona | Safe.Clean.Ready messages readily visible to your customers? Now is a good time to check and if you need additional or replacement posters, you can download them here. Let’s not let our guard down.

Take Advantage of Promotional and Marketing Opportunities

Please visit the Benefits of Partnership page to see all your Sedona Chamber benefits including ways to promote your business with free and paid opportunities. 

Arizona Commerce Authority Small Business Webinars

The Arizona Commerce Authority is continuing its popular webinar series. Check out free webinars on a host of ways to improve your business performance.

Sedona | Safe.Clean.Ready Campaign

Hundreds of businesses have volunteered to implement posted safety practices and are now listed on SedonaSafeCleanReady.com. We are also encouraging residents and visitors to practice the guidelines. 

By signing on, you get immediate access to Sedona | Safe.Clean.Ready logos and posters letting customers know you are operating responsibly and educating them on interacting safely with you and your employees.

We are promoting Sedona | Safe.Clean.Ready through social media, blogs, free media and paid advertising. 

The Arizona Office of Tourism Provides Guidelines for Tourism Industry Businesses

The Arizona Office of Tourism shared Travel-focused Pandemic Data Resources


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE


Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) was awarded $289 million from the COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress. This funding will be used toward direct payments for rent, rental arrears, utilities, utility arrears, and other expenses related to housing stability incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning February 23, renters and landlords in the twelve Arizona counties listed will be able to apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) using the online ERAP portal. Applications will be accepted through the program’s expiration on December 31, 2021 or until funding is exhausted. Click here to view the Emergency Rental Assistance Program details and eligibility requirements.

Arizona Community Foundation Non-Profit Support

The Arizona Community Foundation has established a COVID-19 Community Response Fund to help non-profit organizations who provide critical care and need emergency funding to meet the surge in demand. Apply for or donate to the fund at azfoundation.org.

SBA Disaster Loan Update 

The SBA is accepting applications for the EIDL Loan and Advance Programs.  Check it regularly. Non-profit organizations are also eligible for SBA Disaster Loans. Nonprofits should contact Northern AZ SCORE and United Way of Yavapai County for assistance.

Senior Core of Retired Executives Offer FREE Business Advice 

Free SCORE business advisory services for COVID-19 business advice, and  recovery planning. Contact Wade Bell at wade.bell@scorevolunteer.org


LOCAL ATTORNEYS EXPLAIN


Aspey, Watkins & Diesel PLLC explain topics to help businesses related to COVID-19

Some of the topics include:  

Click here to view all topics


EMPLOYMENT & PAYROLL RELIEF


Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act from the US Senate 

Click here for the Small Business Guide and Checklist, provided by the US Chamber of Commerce

US Senate Committee on Small Business provides Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses here.

CARES Act Eligibility Guide

CARES Act FAQs

New Guidance from Department of Labor on Leave Rules

The U.S. Department Of Labor just published guidance for explaining paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Relief for laid off and unpaid employees:  Arizona@Work is a resource for temporary employment services. Your laid off employees should register at Arizona Job Connection. The Arizona@Work icon is on the upper left.

Here you will find the Sedona Emergency Community Resource Directory

Arizona Unemployment Insurance: The CARES Act includes additional funding for state unemployment insurance and may waive some restrictions such as waiting periods. Your laid off unpaid employees can begin the process of applying for benefits at AZUI.gov

NOTE – the Northern Arizona Council of Governments recommends entering COVID-19 as the ‘Reason for Separation.’

Your laid off employees can get help navigating the services above by calling NACOG’s  West County One Shop at 928.778.1422 or 928.308.4832, or the East County One Stop at 928.649.6867 or 928.649.6868, or visit their websites: nacog.org and yavapaiatwork.com.


VISITOR CENTER & CHAMBER OPERATIONS


Visitor Center: The Visitor Center at Forest and 89A is open 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Chamber Administrative Office:  The Chamber offices at 45 Sunset Drive is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Please bookmark to regularly review and share the Sedona Travel Advisory page and our Updates to Sedonans.


ADDITIONAL BUSINESS RESOURCES


City of Sedonasedona

City of Sedona Covid-19 information and resources


County & Stateaz-1

Coconino County Health and Human Services information

Yavapai County Health Services website

Arizona Department of Health and Human Services information

Arizona Commerce Authority

Arizona Department of Economic Security

Unemployment Insurance Fact Sheet from the Department of Economic Security


Centers for Disease Control and Preventioncdc_logo

CDC website on coronavirus

CDC’s travel notices

Tips on coronavirus prevention