The last week brought more news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on businesses and workers. The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to keeping you updated about new developments in these unprecedented times. In this weekly blog, we’ll provide you with news and information about new policies and resources available from the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, the federal government, and our philanthropic partners.
Mayor Durkan transmits legislation to deploy $14 million in federal resources in fight against COVID-19
On April 24,Mayor Durkan transmitted legislation to accept and appropriate funds from the recently passed federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to directly support the City’s response to COVID-19. Approximately $14 million in new federal funds will be directed toward food assistance, rent relief, investments in shelter and services for those experiencing homelessness, and additional funding for the Small Business Stabilization Fund.
Mayor Durkan is proposing to use approximately $14 million in new federal funds towards these COVID-19 priorities:
- $1.5 million for the Small Business Stabilization Fund
- $5 million for the expansion of food delivery programs for older adults
- $2.1 million for meals at shelters
- $5.3 million for rental assistance programs for households at risk of eviction or homelessness and programs that serve low-income persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS
- $150,000 to assist hospital patients’ transition to long term care
You can read more here.
New Emergency Order to cap third-party delivery commissions and support local restaurants
On Friday April 24, Mayor Durkan, Council President González, and Councilmember Herbold announced a new Emergency Order to impose a 15 percent commission cap on third-party delivery services. The necessary statewide ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order has caused restaurants to rely solely on delivery and takeout services for revenue, and many restaurants use third-party delivery services to meet the needs of their customers and keep their staff safe.
The 15 percent commission cap will remain in place until restaurants are allowed to offer unrestricted dine-in service in the City of Seattle. Click here to read more.
Protecting small businesses from scammers
This week, OED and the Mayor’s Office warned the community about scammers who have been preying on small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We received numerous reports of scammers posing as either lenders or third-party providers offering to assist businesses with their federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications.
To raise awareness of this urgent concern, we issued a press release on April 23 that generated important media coverage, posted a Bottomline Blog story, and have updated our website with messaging in five languages.
Federal and state governments have moved rapidly to respond COVID-19, and a lot has changed for workers and employers. More workers can qualify for more benefits over an extended period.
- Employers can learn more at https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19-employer-information.
- Self-employed or independent contractors can find more information at https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/self-employed.
- To find out who qualifies for specific benefits, see the Employment Security Department’s COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits document.
Free webinars on unemployment
OED held a special webinar session on April 24, with Scott Michael, Legal Services Coordination Manager with the Washington Employment Security Department. To view the webinar, register here.
The Seattle King County NAACP and the Unemployment Law Project are sponsoring free webinars that describe how COVID-19 has affected unemployment benefits. The program includes an update on new unemployment rules, followed by a live Q&A with the audience hosted by Carolyn Riley-Payne, President of Seattle King County NAACP. Sponsored by Seattle King County NAACP and the Unemployment Law Project. Register here.
We reported in last Monday’s Resources Roundup blog that funding for the federal Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) had been exhausted. An additional $484 billion relief package was approved Friday, April 24 to replenish these loans. We anticipate that these funds will not last long, so we are urging businesses to review the PPP and EIDL resources below and apply as soon as possible.
Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans
$320 billion was dedicated to replenish the PPP loan program. Organizations apply for PPP loans through a bank, not through the SBA.
If you already applied for a PPP loan
If you already applied for a PPP loan, please reach out to your lender about the status of your PPP application and make sure you have submitted all the necessary information.
If you haven’t yet applied for a PPP loan
If you haven’t yet applied for a PPP loan, we recommend that you move quickly to contact the bank that handles your business account. Find out whether your bank is participating in the program and taking new applications.
Some lenders are still working through the backlog of existing applications and may not be taking new applications. If your bank is not participating in the PPP loan program, some other banks are taking contact information and will reach out based on availability of funds. A list of eligible PPP lenders may be found through this link.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
$60 billion was dedicated to replenishing the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Loan Advance programs (EIDL). The EIDL program is currently not open for new applications but is focused on processing applications already submitted earlier in April. The SBA has not announced a date when it will resume taking EIDL loan applications or IF it will take them. The SBA will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications as soon as possible.
In the event the SBA does take new applications, please plan to be ready to apply as soon as funding becomes available. Find a checklist of what you’ll need to apply on our website. SBA information and the latest updates from the SBA can be found here.
Contact OED for federal loan help
OED provides technical assistance to businesses applying for SBA loans and understanding the CARES Act. This includes helping businesses navigate the application process and documentation. For inquiries, please email OED@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8090.
New! Business For All by Hello Alice is providing $10,000 emergency COVID-19 grants: https://businessforall.helloalice.com
See last week’s Resources Roundup blog for more information about grants available from philanthropic sources.