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.

Durham County Department of Public Health Weekly Data • July 27


Total Cases



7-Day Moving Average



Sustained leveling or decreased trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over 14 days.


North Carolina's trajectory of positive tests as a percentage of total tests is leveling. Durham's trajectory of positive tests based upon two surveillance efforts is leveling.

Visit the Durham County Department of Public Health Data Hub for in-depth analyses and information.

Closure Status

State of North Carolina Limits the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to be Consumed on Premises After 11 p.m., Effective July 31

Executive Order 153, effective on July 31, 2020, stops the sale of alcoholic drinks in restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries at 11 p.m. North Carolina bars that are currently closed will remain closed. The order will not apply to grocery stores, convenience stores or other entities permitted to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. Local governments that have implemented orders that end alcohol sales before 11 p.m. or that apply to other entities remain in effect.


State of North Carolina Remains at Phase 2, Face Coverings Mandatory, Effective August 5

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced that North Carolina will remain in Safer at Home Phase 2 through at least September 11.


Durham City and County Amended Safer-at-Home Order, Effective July 9

As of July 9, 2020, Durham’s Safer-at-Home Order no longer differs from North Carolina’s Phase Two Extension with the following exceptions:

  • Employer screenings now include the additional symptoms identified by the CDC for COVID-19.
  • Durham is maintaining more restrictive mask requirements.
  • Retail establishments must post signage advising people to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
  • There are increased standards for Skilled Nursing Facilities.
  • As City and County governments reopen services, including open meetings, both governments will consult with the Durham County Department of Public Health and place limits on in-person attendance/participation as necessary to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
  • Authorization has been granted to the Durham City-County Planning Department Director to allow for the suspension of certain provisions of the UDO in order to facilitate site plans and temporary use permits related to COVID-19 response and business recovery.
  • Local universities have been granted some leeway to house additional students due to the cancellation of study abroad programs.


Reopening Updates, Guidelines & Suggestions

Back on the Bull

Back on the Bull is an online planning tool developed by Duke's Center for Advanced Hindsight and the creative team at McKinney, with guidance from the Durham County Department of Public Health. Back on the Bull offers a voluntary self-certification tool for businesses operating during the pandemic, with printable signage that makes it easier for business owners and stakeholder groups to prominently display the specific safety measures they've adopted in response to COVID-19. The signage is in compliance with recent statewide Safer-at-Home orders. Back on the Bull is a one-stop shop where Durham residents, visitors, stakeholders and business owners can learn more about Durham’s current Safer-at-Home Order, COVID-19 data reports, actionable steps to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, and what one can expect when venturing into public. Visitors to the site can also use the searchable map to see which Durham businesses and organizations have implemented industry-specific safety guidelines. 

Visit Back on the Bull


Count on Me NC

Count On Me NC is a state-wide public health initiative created by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association that empowers visitors, guests and businesses to help keep everyone safe from COVID-19. The platform includes training modules for restaurant safety as well as general business modules. Businesses that complete the modules can print a certificate to display. The site also includes links to safety checklists for businesses as well as other resources.

Visit Count on Me NC



  • 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

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 – Update Effective June 15:

  •  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: 
  • Monthly Parking Permit Customers  
    • On April 6, Park Durham implemented a more secure, convenient, and user-friendly online payment system to pay your monthly parking invoice. This new and improved system provides a myriad of benefits enabling you to pay your monthly bill faster, easier, more conveniently, and securely. The new features include an improved user experience such as a “Pay Now” feature that allows you to view and pay multiple accounts at once, view your payment history, etc. You can also now securely save your payment information, sign up for paperless billing with email reminders, and schedule automatic payments from your credit card or checking account. Park Durham has also implemented a new interactive voice response phone payment system with features such as quick account balance review and payment with a credit card, debit card, or eCheck. Credit cards accepted include Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and PayPal. Please note that our new online payment system charges a non-refundable convenience fee – which is separate from your monthly bill – to process your payment. There is a 3.3% per transaction fee for credit card payments and a $0.50 transaction fee for eChecks. To begin using our new online payment system or our new interactive voice response phone payment system to pay your monthly parking invoice, visit or call 1-844-592-4920.
  •  Off-Street Parking Garages and Lots 
    • Parking garages and surface parking lots are back in service as of Monday, June 15. Due to social distancing requirements, Park Durham strongly encourages you to use the pay-on-foot parking equipment located in the garages to pay for hourly parking charges. As a reminder, hourly rates are $1.25. Also, prepaid parking validations are available for purchase by contacting our Customer Service Center via email at [email protected] or via telephone at (919) 560-4157.
  • On-Street Metered Parking Spaces 
    • The on-street parking meters that are NOT located in designated Curbside Delivery Zones, are back in service as of Monday, June 15. As a reminder, hourly rates are $1.50.
  • On-Street Parking Enforcement 
    • Parking ambassadors continue to enforce safety violations and monitor downtown curbside delivery zones to ensure compliance and turnover. They are also not issuing parking citations for nonpayment at pay stations and overtime parking in our on-street spaces until further notice. 
  • Downtown Curbside Delivery Zones
    • On March 26, Park Durham 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 Roy Cooper’s executive order is lifted. Park Durham strongly encourages you to only park for the actual time needed to pick up restaurant orders. 

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.
  • 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.

Online Meetings/Conferences/Webinars

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

 Resources for Business & Organizations

City of Durham Small Business Recovery Fund - Second Round

NEW OPPORTUNITY for businesses that suffered a significant disruption in operations during 2019. These businesses, that aren’t able to show profitability in 2019 will be considered on a case-by-case basis for assistance/funding. If you submitted an application for a loan or grant and you experienced an interruption or disruption in operations in 2019, PLEASE RESUBMIT AN APPLICATION.

The program is now launching a second round of funding beginning July 20, with $414,000 in grant funds and approximately $1.4 million in loan funds available for distribution. The criteria for both programs have been updated, with Durham County businesses now eligible to apply; previously, only businesses within the city limits were eligible. Both grant and loan applications will be selected for review on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.

In addition, businesses that can satisfactorily document reasons for a significant disruption in operations during 2019 that impacted their profitability will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Given the continuing economic impact of the pandemic, loan applicants can also now submit documentation showing a 25% or more Covid-related loss for the months of April-June 2020.

Eligible businesses are those with fewer than 25 employees, including home-based businesses and food trucks, which are subject to additional criteria. Businesses with revenue of less than $500,000 may apply for grants up to $10,000. Businesses with revenue of more than $500,000 are eligible for loans of $5,000 to $35,000 with a 3% interest rate and repayment terms up to 10 years. Borrowers will make only interest payments during the first year with principal payments deferred up to a year.

Access the loan application.

Access the grant application.

Download the informational flyer.


  • 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


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


  • Latino Credit Union Solidarity Loan 

    LCCU is offering this loan to members who have lost their regular income due to the COVID-19 crisis. LCCU members can borrow between $500 and $2,000 at 1% APR with terms of up to 24 months.

    To apply you will need to have established a membership with LCCU on or before March 15.  No current proof of income will be required.  Ability to repay will be based on the income you received before the hardship started. And the first payment may be deferred up to 90 days.

    Apply by contacting any LCCU branch during business hours.



  • 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

Ways to Help

Support local businesses with your business

DDI maintains up-to-date information on the status of downtown restaurants and retailers. It is still a good idea to call or check social media to see what services are available at individual businesses.

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