Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order on March 23 to take effect immediately. The Stay Home Order ended on May 31 and the Governor announced a phased approach to reopening with a county-by-county based “Safe Start” reopening plan for resuming recreational, social and business activities. This plan builds off the 4-phase plan he announced May 4. The full Orders can be viewed at this link to Governor's COVID-19 Related Proclamations.
COVINGTON RAPID RELIEF GRANT PROGRAM:
At their October 13 meeting, the Covington City Council approved an additional $60,000 from a second installment of CARES Act funding to be administered in a third round of grants for Covington businesses affected by COVID. Applications for this Covington Rapid Relief Program Round Three are being accepted now through November 3.
The Covington Rapid Relief Program provides working capital grants in amounts limited from $2,500 up to $7,500 to small, locally-owned businesses that meet specific criteria outlined in the application. Grant amounts are determined by the number of people employed at the small business and the businesses must be located within Covington city limits. Additionally, the requirement that a non-essential business must be opened for at least one year to be eligible has been removed for this third round. The City initially disbursed $130,000 of CARES Act funds for this program in August and September.
Businesses awarded a grant can utilize the funds toward expenses like lease or loan payments, wages, taxes and employee benefits, operating costs and expenses, payment for PPE (personal protective equipment), and for improvements necessary for protection of employees and customers.
Funding for this program is made possible by City of Covington reimbursements from the State of Washington using CARES Act dollars available to support local recovery efforts from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The City has partnered with Evergreen Business Capital to help administer the process. The Council also approved the distribution of remaining CARES Act funds to several other organizations including Storehouse, Vine Maple Place and water and sewer utilities for Covington residents who need assistance paying their water or sewer bills.
Both the application and worksheet need to be completed and submitted no later than November 3 at 5 p.m. to the City of Covington.
BUSINESS RESOURCE WEBINAR:
The Washington State Small Business Liaisons have developed a webinar to help small businesses during this time of crisis. The webinars focus on small business resources, conversations about recovery, and question and answer time. Find a webinar time/date that works for you by clicking here.
The state has provided a detailed list of what is considered an essential business that may remain open during this Stay-Home, Stay Healthy Order. The list can be viewed at this link to What is Considered an Essential Business at This Time.
BUSINESS OPERATING GUIDANCE:
Back to Work Toolkit - Tips on reopening the office when stay home orders end.
Guidance for retail businesses and service operators.
Guidance for employers if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Guidance for childcare businesses.
Guidance from OSHA for preparing workplaces.
- The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide support in the form of unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly-trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, Shared Work, Partial Unemployment and Standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs). Visit https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19
- ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition. Visit https://paidleave.wa.gov/coronavirus/
- If COVID-19 disrupts a Washington business and causes a mass layoff or closure, ESD and its local workforce development board partners can respond with Rapid Response services and funding to help impacted workers get connected to unemployment benefits and re-employment services, including re-training, worker support services, and referrals to other social services. Visit https://www.esd.wa.gov/newsroom/layoffassistance
- The Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant was announced April 7 by Governor Inslee. This program will be using a portion of the state’s Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF) to offer a limited number of grants (up to $10,000) to small businesses with up to 10 employees. Businesses can use this money to pay for rent, utility bills, supplies, inventory and other operating expenses. Learn more and apply at http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/links/crisis/covid-19-resources
- The Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to provide assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program to businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury in an eligible disaster area. Congress approved up to $7 billion in low-interest disaster loans specifically to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. These loans can help small businesses meet financial obligations and cover operating expenses. Visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
- The Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) created a page dedicated to business relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and may extend state filing and payment deadlines to affected businesses. Visit https://dor.wa.gov/taxrelief
- The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus and have extended the federal tax payment deadline from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
- Facebook is putting together a small business grant program with $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help those small businesses affected by the pandemic. Visit https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
- Public Health - Seattle & King County
- Washington State Department of Health
- Washington State COVID-19 Response Website
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
ADDITIONAL BUSINESS RESOURCES: