The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to keeping you updated about new developments in these quickly changing and challenging times. In this weekly blog, we’ll provide you with the latest news and information about new policies and resources available from the City of Seattle, King County, the State of Washington, the federal government, and our private and philanthropic partners. For a more detailed list of resources for businesses, workers, nonprofits and the arts, visit here.
City of Seattle News and Resources
Outreach, education, and new compliance enforcement measures for “Safe Start’ plan
Building off of the City’s recent announcement to increase education and outreach efforts, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) has issued a new public health and safety measure to enforce state-mandated business requirements, including protective face coverings, social distancing and capacity limitations.
For customers, residents or employees who have concerns about non-compliance, FAS will conduct outreach, provide education, and help to enforce Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan in non-food business establishments across the city. Public Health – Seattle & King County has expanded efforts to educate and enforce protections in food establishments, with FAS in a supporting role.
Effective immediately, FAS will begin implementing the new measure through the use of a Director’s Rule. Understanding the complexities of navigating the COVID-19 environment, the City’s focus is primarily to conduct outreach and education to help businesses comply with the new rule. With repeated and/or egregious offenses, businesses may have their City of Seattle business license suspended and may be charged with a crime that carries a maximum penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Read more here.
Order your Small Business Safe Start Kit
Chambers and business organizations around the region have come together in partnership with King County to provide Safe Start Kits. These kits provide cloth face coverings, disposable masks, and hand sanitizer to businesses in King County to help keep employees healthy and safe.
To pick up or have your kit shipped (shipping fees apply), click here.
Paid On-street parking resumes
With King County’s transition to Phase 2 of the Safe Start Plan, businesses are reopening. Reliable access at the curb for customers is critical for recovery. Seattle Department of Transportation has reinstated hourly time limited parking and paid parking enforcement. Parking will be $0.50/hour in all paid areas; the minimum rate allowed according to the Seattle Municipal Code.
- Straight hourly time limits will also be enforced in unpaid neighborhood business districts.
- Time limits in RPZs will continue to be enforced so that people who live in these neighborhoods can still find parking in their neighborhoods.
- Loading zones up to 30-minutes, including new food pick-up zones, will continue to be enforced
- All Signs that indicate no parking, including no parking during a specified time, will still be enforced
Free Sidewalk and Curb Space Permits
To support small businesses and ease reopening during Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start plan, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is accepting applications for sidewalk and curb space permits, which allow restaurants, retail stores, vending trucks and carts to operate in the sidewalk or curb space in front of their business. The free SDOT flexible temporary street use permit options are for sidewalk cafes, merchandise displays, and food and other vending. These temporary permits will be available for up to six months.
To learn more about these permits, and decide if these options are right for your businesses, visit the permitting site here.
Toolkits for reopening
King County has entered Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start reopening plan. Phase 2 allows certain businesses and activities to resume under strict public health and safety guidance.
The City of Seattle developed toolkits to help businesses in various sectors reopen, based on Washington Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle & King County guidelines. The toolkits have guidance for restaurants and taverns, retail, professional services, personal services, fitness and training and domestic services.. Toolkits are available in Amharic, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Businesses can also call OED for assistance at 206-684-8090 (interpretation available in Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese).
Public Health – Seattle & King County can provide informational posters for businesses to help inform staff and customers on the latest COVID-19 guidance.
Lease Amendment Toolkit Available in Eight Languages
The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) partnered with Communities Rise and Perkins Coie to launch a 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. The COVID-19 Lease Amendment Toolkit 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. The toolkit is available in English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
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.
Reconnect West Seattle Survey
Do you live in West Seattle? The Reconnect West Seattle Survey is a chance for you to let SDOT and its transit partners know what will help change the way you travel to and from the West Seattle peninsula. Please add your voice! Survey here: https://fal.cn/398oJ
King County and Community News and Resources
Free COVID-19 Testing Available in King County
Free testing is available to lessen the spread of COVID-19 throughout our region. Getting tested can help you protect your family, friends, and community should you contract the virus
Click here for a list of FREE Open Access COVID-19 Testing Locations. Language interpretation services are available at most location at no costs and are open to anyone regardless of immigration or insurance status.
GSBA & Ventures Small Business Incubator
The application for the next quarter of the GSBA & Ventures Nonprofit Small Business Incubator is now open!
Designed to empower trans and gender-diverse business owners, and LGBTQ BIPOC entrepreneurs, the Small Business Incubator takes students through an immersive, eight-week business learning experience. At a sliding-scale cost, incubatees attend Ventures’ Business Basics Course, receive a free one-year GSBA Membership, access to consultation with GSBA VP of Membership & Programs Ilona Lohrey (she/her), and more.
The application closes on Sunday, August 9 with courses beginning in September. Apply here.
Washington State News and Resources
WSDOT’s Seeks Under-Represented Firms for Federally Funded Projects
WSDOT is inviting contractors, labor and trade organizations, small and disadvantaged businesses, and others interested in working with the agency to attend one of its upcoming informational meetings regarding the proposed Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goals. WSDOT is accepting written comments on the proposals through Friday, July 24. To learn more about DBE and the proposed goals visit here.
Federal News and Resources
Need Working Capital? Apply for PPP or EIDL Loan
Congress reopened applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and extended the deadline to August 8. Businesses are encouraged to apply for a PPP loan, and/or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) while funding lasts. OED provides FREE technical assistance for businesses to:
- Understand available financial resources, including loans and grants
- Check eligibility for loans and other resources
- Apply for SBA loans and complete the application, including EIDL and EIDL Advance, SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief
- Interpretation is available in 8 languages: English, Amharic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese
Learn more about these federal resources here, or call the Seattle Office of Economic Development at 206-684-8090 from Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email OED at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime to receive free assistance. You can ask for language assistance and receive interpretation over the phone.