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.
New Public Health – Seattle & King County Health Directive on Face Coverings
Starting May 18, Public Health – Seattle & King County’s new Local Health Directive instructs King County residents to wear cloth face coverings in indoor public settings, on King County Metro buses, and in outdoor settings where physical distancing could be difficult, such as farmers markets. Residents must continue to practice good hygiene and continue physical distancing in addition to wearing cloth face coverings.
Mayor Durkan announced on May 11 that the City of Seattle will provide over 45,000 free cloth face coverings to vulnerable communities, including people experiencing homelessness, low-income older adults, and food bank staff. The City will also provide cloth face coverings for every City of Seattle employee.
Members of the public do not need to buy a cloth face covering to comply with this Directive; they can easily be made with any piece of cotton fabric, including a t-shirt. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has step-by-step instructions on how to make a cloth face covering.
For more information, including a downloadable face covering poster, visit kingcounty.gov/masks.
Take the Business Impact Survey and Be Entered to Win a $50 Gift Card
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.
Round two of the survey will build upon the initial survey questions to measure potential changes over time, seek to further understand operational changes business have implemented since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and evaluate the impact private and public funding have had on businesses’ ability to stay afloat.
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 21.
OED Now Providing Support in More Languages
To help support businesses requesting in-language assistance applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs and navigating other services, OED now supports customers who speak English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Somali, Amharic, and Korean.
To access language assistance, call us at (206) 684-8090 or email email@example.com. All callers can leave a message and bilingual staff will call back with in-language support. We also updated our SBA Disaster Loan Technical Assistance webpage with information in nine languages to assist businesses applying for federal loans.
Weekly Small Business Webinar
Hear from experts and stay up-to-date on the latest issues impacting small businesses in our region. Our next webinar will be held Wednesday May 20 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.. Sign up for the webinar here.
King County News and Resources
Please be aware that based on Governor Inslee’s future orders, or directives by the Public Health-Seattle & King County Health Officer, guidance may change. King County will edit this fact sheet and update as needed.
State News and Resources
ESD Offering Expanded Support for Unemployment Applicants
Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD) has new resources designed to help non-profits and community partners who are assisting people with limited English proficiency, disabilities, limited internet, and other access needs. Find out more and sign up for their webinars here.
Unemployment Claims and Unemployment Fraud
**Please Note: ESD just announced this afternoon, May 14, that they will suspend payments for two days to combat an increasing rate of claims fraud. Visit the ESD website for up-to-date information.
Unemployment fraud is on the rise during COVID-19. To learn more about unemployment benefits fraud, or to file a claim if you believe someone has fraudulently applied for benefits in your name, click here.
Small businesses in Seattle are eligible to apply for several different types of federal loans, including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. These loans can offset reduced revenues and other economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
OED is offering technical assistance to help small businesses apply for federal loans. Visit our website with detailed directions about applying for these loans here.
Paycheck Protection Program Loans
$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.
OED is providing technical assistance to businesses that need help applying. Additionally, OED provides in-language support to small businesses applying for loans. To access these services, contact OED@seattle.gov or 206-684-8090.