COVID-19 Resources

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DDI has put together a running list of resources for downtown businesses and residents in need, as well as a status report on what we and local government entities are doing to assist. The situation is very fluid, so this page will be updated often as new information becomes available.

If you're a business owner who would like to discuss available assistance in more detail, please contact President/CEO Nicole Thompson at [email protected].


Want to help?

This page is primarily for those seeking resources, but we have also included information on how you can help support local businesses and their staff. Thank you for supporting the downtown Durham community.

Where to find the latest information about COVID-19

These federal, state and local resources are reliable and are updated regularly with new information about the pandemic and ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Closure Status

State of North Carolina Enters Phase 2 of Reopening, Durham Stay-At-Home Order Amended, Effective May 22

The state has begun Phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan effective Friday, May 22, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.  As a result, Durham’s merged Stay-at-Home order is again modified to reflect some of the state’s provisions, while keeping several sections in place for a little longer.

  • Worship, religious and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies and wedding ceremonies are exempt from the limits on mass gatherings and may be held while following Durham’s mandatory social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
  • Durham is adopting EO 141 regarding childcare, day and overnight summer camps. Childcare and summer camps are to follow North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID specific guidelines for childcare facilities, Section 4AAreas which differ slightly from EO 141 include the following:
  • While the state’s EO limits mass gatherings to 10 people indoors and up to 25 people outdoors, Durham will continue to limit the number for outdoor gatherings to 10 people.
  • Realtors may now accompany potential buyers and inspectors into vacant or occupied properties with the same sanitation guidance that currently exists.
  • Durham restaurants may only provide carryout or curbside takeout. The Order allows them to open for on the premise dining at 8:00 a.m. on June 1, 2020.
  • Personal care businesses such as salons and barbershops may open at 8:00 a.m. on June 1, 2020.
  • Pools may also open at 8:00 a.m. on June 1, 2020.
  • The Order maintains the stay at home standard, only allowing people to leave for specific purposes, Section 2A
  • The wearing of face coverings is still required any time people are in public.

For more information about the City's order visit their website.

Check here for a media release about the State of NC's Phase Two Stay at Home Order.

Federal Help for Businesses and Individuals

Warning About Business Assistance Scams

There are organizations and entities that are advertising that they can provide assist businesses during the PPP process….for a “small” fee.  DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THIS. There are numerous entities that provide free assistance – LaTasha Best-Gaddy at SBTDC,  LaShon Harley at SBC, the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina ([email protected]) and the 7a banks. Please, do not be tricked into thinking you need to pay for assistance.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 

NC Independent contractors and self-employed workers out of work because of COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance beginning Friday, April 24. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a federal program for people who are unable to work as a result of COVID-19 and not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers and independent contractors (1099 employees). More information, including how to apply, can be found here. Apply for the grant here.

Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Stimulus Bill)

On March 27, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus bill. 

Local Efforts to Help Businesses

North Carolina COVID-19 Relief Bills

On May 4, Governor Cooper signed two relief bills into law. The relief package, which was passed unanimously, includes almost $1.6 billion in relief measures for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations. Of this amount, $1.4 billion has been appropriated and $150 million is set aside in a reserve fund for future local government needs. Provisions that apply to businesses are below.

  • Accrual of Interest:  Directs the Department of Revenue (DOR) to waive the accrual of interest on any individual income, corporate or franchise tax returns for the period from April 15, 2020 through July 15, 2020. 
  • Refund Claims Deadline:  Extends the dates for filing certain refund claims.  Any claim for a refund of income or franchise taxes, which would otherwise be due between April 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020 would otherwise be considered timely if filed by July 15, 2020.
  • Tax Appeals Deadlines:  Extends the deadlines for taking certain actions in connection with tax appeal proceedings.  Any filings required to be made after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020 would be considered timely if filed by July 15, 2020.
  • Limited Business Immunity:  Gives essential businesses and emergency response entities immunity from civil liability claims from a customer or employee as a result of conducting business with or being employed by these entities during the pandemic.
  • Small Businesses:  Appropriates $125 million to the Golden Leaf Foundation for additional low-interest loans to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • Read the full bills here: 

From Park Durham:

 All changes are effective beginning at 6 p.m. on  Thursday, March 26, and will be in place until further notice. 

  • 1.  The PARKDurham Customer Service Center is closed until further notice. Residents will still be able to conduct business over the phone at 919-560-4157 or online (links below). Beginning Friday, March 27, phones will be open from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. from Monday through Friday to answer questions. Customers can still make credit card payments for parking citations using the following online platforms: 
  • 2. Monthly Parking Permit Customers  
    • a. During this period, customers may make payments by check or money order by mailing payments to PO Box 1370, Durham, NC 27701. Please make the check payable to the "City of Durham."  
  •  3. Off-Street Parking Garages and Lots 
    • a. Parking garage and surface parking lot operations have been suspended. The gates to all facilities will be open until further notice. 
  •  4. On-Street Metered Parking Spaces 
    • a. In response to Governor Cooper’s executive order that closed all restaurants and bars in North Carolina except for takeout and delivery orders, we  have  converted  many  on-street metered parking spaces in downtown Durham to Curbside Delivery Zones. These spaces will return to on-street metered spaces once Governor Cooper’s executive order is lifted. We strongly encourage customers to only park for the actual time needed to pick up restaurant orders.  
    • b. An image of the Curbside Delivery Zone signage can be found  here.  
  • 5. On-Street Parking Enforcement 
    • a. Parking enforcement ambassadors have suspended issuing parking citations for nonpayment at  pay  stations and overtime parking.  
    • b. Parking enforcement will be limited to on-call requests to issue parking citations in the downtown area  for  illegal  parking in loading zones, sidewalks, fire lanes, bus lanes, ADA parking spaces, crosswalks, etc. 
  • 6. Facilities Maintenance 
    • a. Facilities  maintenance  and custodial  efforts in City-owned parking garages have been suspended until further notice.   

Rent/Mortgage Renegotiation

  • Commercial property owners are encouraged to  apply for assistance under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fund. IF you have payroll or detailed and specific information on independent contractors that work for the business, you may be eligible for PPP. 
  • DDI has reached out many downtown property owners encouraging them to work with their tenants on monthly rental payments. Contact your landlord, and ask that they work with you on discounting or deferring payments until the mandate is lifted, and that they offer flexibility as things return to normal once the crisis ends.


  • State taxes: The NC Department of Revenue has waived late filing and payment penalties for businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19. More information.
    • DDI is in contact with Representative Zack Hawkins, and we have requested that he work with his colleagues to allow businesses to defer sales and payroll tax payments during the crisis. More information to follow as we have it.
  • Federal taxes: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. 
    • Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers.  Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.
    • Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due.
    • More information.
    • UPDATE: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced on March 20 that the federal income tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020. More information.


  • Governor Cooper's Executive Order of March 17, instituted the following changes to unemployment insurance benefits to aid workers and employers affected by COVID-19:
      • Removed the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment payment for those workers who lose their jobs;
      • Removed the requirement that a person must be actively looking for another job during this time when many potential employers are closed and social distancing guidelines are in effect. 
      • Directed that employees who lose their jobs or, in certain cases have their hours reduced due to COVID-19 may apply for unemployment benefits.
      • Directed that employers will not be held responsible for benefits paid as a direct result of these COVID-19 claims. 
      • Waived the requirement that people must apply for benefits in person; workers can apply for benefits online or by phone.
      • More information.
      • For answers to your specific questions about unemployment benefits, email [email protected].
  • Unemployment Benefits for Sole Proprietors
      • The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a Presidentially declared major disaster.
      • In order to qualify for this benefit your employment or self-employment must have been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States. You must have been determined not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits (under any state or Federal law).
      • More information


  • Duke Energy and Dominion Energy have suspended all home and business nonpayment disconnections. 
  • Duke Energy has also announced that it will waive late payment fees and fees for returned payments until the national state of emergency is lifted.
  • Spectrum small business and residential customers who face difficult economic circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic will not have their internet, TV, or voice service terminated. In addition, the company will not charge late fees for those customers facing difficult economic circumstances related to the pandemic.

Online Meetings/Conferences/Webinars

These organizations are hosting regular webinars during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Resources for Business & Organizations


  • Small Business Association
  • Golden LEAF NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan
    • The North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover. UPDATE: As of March 26, Golden Leaf has received applications in excess of the current $15 million funding level and are actively seeking additional funding to expand the program. Applications already submitted are being processed in the order they were received. You are welcome to continue with your application, and Golden Leaf will review it as additional funding becomes available.
    • Apply for a Rapid Recovery Loan


  • Duke Durham Fund Phase 1 - $1 Million for Emergency Relief

    Duke is now providing rapid relief grants up to $5,000 to community-based organizations that are supporting basic needs in Durham. To date, they have received more than 100 applications and have granted more than $200,000. They are actively reviewing open applications. Eligible organizations may complete the short application online at any time, and organizations that received funding in April may reapply for additional funding during round two which opens on May 18, and round three in June. Applications for emergency relief for the community are available at

  • Phase 2 of the Duke-Durham Fund - Funds for Nonprofit Organizations

    Phase 2 of the Duke-Durham Fund is now open for large nonprofits to apply. This Phase was created to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable Durham residents as a result of the pandemic by investing in non-profits responding to immediate COVID-19 Recovery needs. The Corporate Partnership for Durham – COVID-19 Recovery Fund provides grants between $25,000-75,000 for nonprofits that address large-scale, community-wide services related to food security, emergency housing assistance, education, support for healthcare workers, and other emergent issues stemming from COVID-19.  This fund is possible due to a corporate partnership between Duke and other corporations. Details and the application can be found in the For Large Nonprofits tab here:



Other Resources

Resources for Individuals


  • Day One Fund

    This fund is being established as a partnership with Day One Disaster Relief and supported by community leaders: Mayor Steve Schewel;  City Council Members: Vernetta Alston, Javiera Caballero, DeDreana Freeman, Jillian Johnson, Mark-Anthony Middleton, and Charlie Reece; and members of The Durham County Board of Commissioners.

    The funds raised will be distributed to the most critical need, in the most equitable way possible.

    Apply for Funds

  • Durham Artist Relief Fund

    Funds donated here go directly to artists and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists (note: we will try to help as many artists with need in Durham as we can).

    Apply for Funds


  • Amazon 

    Per this article in the Herald-Sun, in North Carolina, Amazon expects to add 2,000 new jobs across the state, including more than 540 in the Triangle. The new jobs will be at the company’s many fulfillment centers and in its delivery network. Amazon is also planning to boost its minimum wage for employees, from $15 to $17 per hour, through April.

    Apply Here


  • Disaster Distress Helpline 

    The Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7/365 crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S. experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including public health emergencies. Calls to 1-800-985-5990 and texts of “TalkWithUs” to 66746 are answered by a network of independently-operated crisis centers around the US, who provide psychological first aid, emotional support, crisis assessment and intervention, and referrals to local/state behavioral health services for follow-up care & support.

    • Spanish speakers can call the hotline and press “2” for 24/7 bilingual support or text “Hablanos” for Spanish to 66746
    • Deaf/Hard of Hearing – TTY 1-800-846-8517 or can text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
    • Callers to the hotline can connect with counselors in 100+ languages via 3rd party interpretation services; to connect with a counselor in one’s primary language, indicate preferred language to the responding counselor and they will connect to a live interpreter

    More Information

Reopening Guidelines & Suggestions


  • City of Durham Water Department: Recommendations for Preparing Your Building/Facility for Reopening

    When buildings are vacant or operating at significantly reduced capacity for a long period of time, the water that would flow every day is left sitting in the pipes and devices. Disease-causing microorganisms, like the one that causes Legionnaires’ disease, can begin to grow. Corrosion control can be impacted. To make sure that you remove any stale and potentially unhealthy water in your building’s system, we are asking you to follow these steps as you prepare to reopen your property to employees and customers.

    The key to preparing your facility is to flush the water systems and devices. For larger buildings, a single flush isn’t enough to re-establish good water quality, so it’s important to plan ahead and include flushing as a part of the cleaning and routine maintenance that will have to be completed before reopening. This also protects the health of any staff or occupants still working on the premises. We recommend performing a final flush in the 24 to 48 hours before a building officially reopens.

    How to Flush Your Building's Water System

Ways to Help

Support local businesses with your business

Most businesses have suspended dine-in or shop-in services during the crisis, but many are offering other options for their customers. Call or check social media to see what services are available at individual businesses.

  • Use curbside or delivery services

    Even though venues cannot seat patrons, you can still enjoy food from many of your favorite downtown restaurants. Almost all restaurants that have remained open offer takeout and/or delivery. In addition, the many restaurants are now offering curbside services. Click the button below for a complete list of downtown restaurants with curbside service and/or delivery.

  • Purchase a gift card or shop online

    Gift cards put cash directly into the hands of local business owners, and many merchants have online stores where you can purchase their goods. The following downtown businesses offer gift cards or online shopping:

Add Your Business

Tell us about any special offers or services your business is providing that we may be able to help publicize.

Support Local Businesses and Staff with Donations

Downtown Durham, Inc. is providing this list as a service, and unless expressly indicated, is not affiliated with any of the fundraisers listed below. Please use your best judgment when giving to online fundraisers.

  • Day One Fund

    This fund is being established as a partnership with Day One Disaster Relief and supported by community leaders: Mayor Steve Schewel;  City Council Members: Vernetta Alston, Javiera Caballero, DeDreana Freeman, Jillian Johnson, Mark-Anthony Middleton, and Charlie Reece; and members of The Durham County Board of Commissioners.

    The funds raised will be distributed to the most critical need, in the most equitable way possible.

    As an example, the funds will be used to:
    - support individuals whose livelihood was impacted by the outbreak
    - purchase medical supplies
    - purchase cleaning supplies
    - provide community support for those who are most vulnerable

    **Aid will be distributed to communities who currently have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.**

    Any funds raised beyond what is needed to help impacted communities will be reserved for future community disaster relief in Durham and North Carolina.
    Day One Fund

  • Durham Artist Relief Fund

    Funds donated here go directly to artists and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists (note: they will try to help as many artists with need in Durham as they can).

    Durham Artist Relief Fund

  • Durham Arts Council Arts Recovery Fund

    All Fund proceeds will go directly to the Durham arts community impacted by COVID-19. This fund supports local nonprofit arts organizations, artists, artist collectives, arts presenters, arts venues and arts businesses.

    The DAC Arts Recovery Fund is working in partnership with the Durham Artist Relief Fund established by Northstar Church of the Arts. The two funds will support, cross-promote, and coordinate with each other to maximize resources available to the arts community. The Durham Arts Council Arts Recovery Fund is able to expand the emergency resources by attracting and administering dollars on behalf of public and private funders that are not able to channel their support through a GoFundMe platform. Individual donors may give through either campaign, or both.

    DAC Arts Recovery Fund

  • Duke-Durham Fund

    With an initial commitment of $5 million from Duke, the Duke-Durham Fund will provide assistance to area non-profits, small businesses, and community based organizations.

    Duke-Durham Fund