The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to keeping you updated about new developments in these rapidly changing 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 private and philanthropic partners.
For a full guide to available resources, please visit our online resources hub at: http://www.seattle.gov/office-of-economic-development/covid-19.
City News and Resources
City Launches Seattle Protects Online Marketplace
On May 11, 2020, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced a new directive instructing King County residents to wear cloth face coverings in all indoor public settings and outdoor settings where physical distancing could be difficult, such as farmers markets.
To support this effort, Mayor Jenny Durkan launched Seattle Protects on May 19. This is a new online marketplace to connect local manufacturers with organizations, businesses, nonprofits, community groups, and individuals in need of cloth face coverings. This initiative is a collaboration between the Seattle Mayor’s Office, OED, and Seattle Information Technology (ITD).
Organizations and businesses interested in purchasing face coverings for their workforce can explore all Seattle Protects manufacturers to find available face coverings that can be customized to meet the needs of their business. Community members also can find manufacturers selling individual face coverings.
Seattle-region manufacturers interested in joining the Seattle Protects marketplace must fill out this application and must manufacture masks in accordance with vetted specifications to be considered.
OED’s Economic Impact Survey Deadline Extended to May 29
OED released the second round of the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey on May 7. The first round of the survey received over 2,000 responses from businesses in Seattle. This established baseline profile data of the businesses, nonprofits, and independent workers and captured the initial impacts of COVID-19 on our region.
Now, we’re calling all businesses, nonprofits and independent workers to participate in a second round of the survey to tell us how COVID-19 has impacted you. If you participated in the first survey, please also participate in round two. Even if you didn’t participate in round one you can still complete the second round. Your voice will help inform our short and long-term strategies to help the economy.
The survey is available in Amharic, Chinese – Traditional, English, Japanese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese to facilitate participation by diverse businesses.
As a thank you for participating in the survey, OED is randomly selecting five participants to win a $50 gift card redeemable through Intentionalist’s Gift Card Market Place for each round of the survey.
Take the Business Impact Survey by May 29.
OED and Partners Launch Commercial Lease Toolkit to Help Small Businesses and Nonprofits Stay in Their Spaces
OED has partnered with Communities Rise and Perkins Coie to launch a new toolkit to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic explore options for their commercial leases with a goal of remaining in their spaces.
Building on the eviction moratorium for small businesses and nonprofits signed by Mayor Durkan, the new COVID-19 Lease Amendment Toolkit for small businesses and nonprofits provides a suite of tools – including template lease amendment language – to assist small businesses and nonprofits who are navigating the negotiation of their commercial leases with their landlords.
Small businesses and nonprofits that have 50 or fewer employees are also eligible for a free, 60-minute consultation with a legal professional to assist with any COVID-19 commercial lease-related questions.
State News and Resources
Unemployment Fraud Alert
The City of Seattle is warning all residents that scammers are using other people’s social security numbers to fraudulently collect Unemployment Insurance.
Washington State Employment Security Department is responding by placing a brief, 1-2 day hold on all benefit payments to validate their authenticity. The department is also requiring authentication from customers filing claims. Read more in this May 18 ESD update.
To find out about what you can do if you suspect someone has filed for unemployment benefits fraudulently in your name, visit ESD’s fraud webpage.
Governor’s Safe Start Washington Guidelines
Governor Inslee’s office is developing guidelines for gradually reopening Washington’s economy. You can find the Safe Start Washington overview here. To find out more about guidelines issued for specific industries, businesses, and counties to date, visit the Governor’s homepage.
The Employment Security Department has published an Employer FAQ and a Worker FAQ to address common questions as businesses resume operations. The Department of Labor and Industries has published a Paid Sick Leave FAQ. The two agencies worked together to establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave FAQ. Combined, these FAQ address a range of possible scenarios that may unfold as workplaces resume operations.
Washington State Child Care Provider Grants
The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is offering support to child care providers under the Child Care Development Block Grant’s CARE Act. This support is in the form of a grant to any licensed child care provider in Washington State that is open on the date of the grant release and providing child care. Learn more about the grant and how to apply here.
Free, Temporary Internet Access
The Washington State Department of Commerce is providing free temporary, emergency internet access for Washington residents who do not have broadband service in their homes. The free community Wi-Fi is accessible at hotspot sites across the state. You can find the nearest hotspot site near you at the Washington State Drive-In WiFi Hotspots Location Finder.
Paycheck Protection Program Loans Still Available
$310 billion was made available in the second round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), of which approximately $120B still remains available. If you haven’t applied yet, now is the time!
Organizations apply for PPP loans through a bank, not through the SBA. Find out what information you’ll need to provide to the bank here. You can apply through any institution that is participating in the program. We recommend that you start by contacting the bank that handles your business account.
PPP Loan Forgiveness Guidelines
SBA and the Department of Treasury released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and instructions to inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of the PPP loans. Additional regulations and guidance to assist borrowers will be announced’ stay up to date with SBA.
OED is here to help!
OED continues to offer FREE assistance to small businesses and non-profits with their PPP loan and loan forgiveness applications and has bilingual interpretation. For information on the status of your EIDL or PPP loan, contact SBA Office of Disaster Assistance directly at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Private and Philanthropic Resources
FedEx #SupportSmall Grants
FedEx is offering #SupportSmall Grants for U.S. small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Recipients will get a cash grant of $5,000 plus a $500 FedEx Office credit. You will be able to apply on May 25 here.
Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund – Emergency Financial Assistance
The Seattle Foundation has launched funding availability within the COVID-19 Response Fund focused on providing grants to community-based organizations (CBOs) providing “emergency support and financial assistance to disproportionately impacted communities.” The application process closes Friday, May 29, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Go here to learn more about eligibility and to apply.