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 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.
City of Seattle News and Resources
King County is now in Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s SafeStart plan, which means that more businesses and other activities have increased operations under strict public health guidance.
Temporary Street Use Permits
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is now accepting street use permit applications, 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, food, merchandise displays, and other vending. These temporary permits will be available for up to six months. Learn more here.
The City recently launched a series of Phase 2 reopening toolkits to help small businesses authorized to reopen under the Governor’s guidance. These toolkits provide information to help businesses navigate public health requirements and include existing financial resources. The reopening toolkits are meant to distill information from the state and county and make reopening guidance more accessible.
The toolkits provide critical information for small business owners, including a reopening checklist, resources to access Personal Protective Equipment and financial assistance, testing information, and rent and commercial lease assistance. The City has toolkits for the following industries:
- Restaurants and taverns
- Personal services
- Professional services
- In-store retail
- Fitness and training
- Domestic services
The toolkits are available on the City’s new reopening website, and are translated into Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
City of Seattle Community Resource Page
To help communities significantly impacted by COVID-19 in Seattle, the City of Seattle created a centralized website where residents can find information about relief programs offered by the City, the County and the State. This site pulls together resources for workers, artists, small businesses, nonprofits, parents, homeowners, and community members to make it easier for City of Seattle residents to find assistance during this unprecedented public health crises. Click here to view the Mayor’s COVID-19 resource website.
King County News and Resources
Damages by Civil Unrest
Businesses in King County that have suffered property damage or other losses since May 25, 2020 may be eligible for financial assistance. Eligibility is determined through a damage assessment process, now underway, that takes into account the total reported losses within King County.
Businesses that suffered physical damages and/or economic injury may be legible. Individuals and businesses in King County are encouraged to submit reports of losses to King County Emergency Management online at https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/emergency-management/disaster-recovery.aspx or by phone at 1-800-523-5044 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until July 17.
State of Washington News and Resources
Governor Jay Inslee has issued a statewide order for businesses to require face coverings of all employees and customers.
Under this proclamation, businesses may not serve any customer goods or services if they do not comply with the state-wide face covering order. As more counties progress through the phased approach to re-opening, it’s critical that phased opening guidelines are followed to help reopen the economy safely.
“Masking up is not just something that saves lives, it can save economies. If we don’t want to turn the dial back on phases in counties, we need every Washingtonian to join us in this effort.
“We’re doing this because of a spike in cases of COVID-19 all over the state. The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shutdown the economy.”Governor Jay Inslee
Read more on the governor’s Medium page.
Unemployment Benefits and Resources for Workers
Unemployment benefits remain important for many workers in our region. To find out more about unemployment options and resources, visit the following pages provided by Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD):
- Basic eligibility requirements for a claim can be found here
- COVID-19 page
- COVID-19 Eligibility Checker
- COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits Available
- Common Questions
- Technical Support page
- Webinar on Unemployment Insurance
Find help accessing unemployment
Unemployment Law Project: This organization provides low-cost representation and free advice and counsel to people in Washington State who have been denied unemployment benefits or whose award of benefits is being challenges. Unemployment Law Project is also hosting and producing webinars for workers who may additional support. They also have in-language support in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Hindi, Korean, Arabic, Amharic, Laotian, and Vietnamese. For more information, click here.
WorkSource Seattle-King County: To find a list of WorkSource locations and community based organizations that are assisting workers with filing for unemployment, see their website.
Resources for businesses and workers disrupted due to COVID-19
Unemployment Benefit Charge Relief: Employers may be eligible for relief of benefit charges if an employer needs to shut down operations temporarily because a worker becomes sick and other workers need to be isolated or quarantined as a result of COVID-19. For more information, click here.
Rapid Response Layoff Resources: 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 Washington Small Business Development Center is providing a Business Resiliency Toolkit and Guide to help businesses statewide navigate emergency and crises. They can also provide free technical assistance to businesses applying for Small Business Administration Disaster Loans. For more information, visit their website here.
More information about State of Washington Resources
Washington Connection: Washington Connection offers a fast and easy way for families and individuals to apply for a variety of services such as food, cash, childcare, long-term care, and Medicare Savings Programs. Visit https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/ for more information.
Federal News and Resources
Small businesses in Seattle are now eligible to apply for several different types of federal loans, including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan products. These loans can offset reduced revenues and other economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline to apply for PPP loans has been extended to August 8. To find out more about applying for this forgivable loan, see this SBA publication: PPP: 5 things to know today.
For more information about federal loan options, see OED’s webpage SBA Disaster Loan Technical Assistance.
EIDL Loan and Loan Advance
The Small Business Administration’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for small businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19. Small business owners and qualified agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply. SBA is now accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications.
These loans can help small businesses meet financial obligations and cover operating expenses. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.
The City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) is offering technical assistance to help small businesses apply for PPP and SBA loans. Visit our website with detailed directions about applying for these loans here.
For more information and general resources, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/office-of-economic-development/covid-19 or call (206) 684-8090. You may also access language assistance by calling (206) 684-8090. All callers can leave a message, and bilingual staff will call back with in-language support.
- Visa has extended its partnership with IFundWomen to support Black women-owned small businesses in the United States through a new grant program and educational resources. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2020. Find out more here.
- United Way of King County has put together a list of resources for workers who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This list includes links to unemployed benefits, health insurance, and other free and reduced programs in and around King County. Go to United Way of King County’s page for more information.
- Food Lifeline will distribute emergency food boxes to anyone needing help keeping food on the table during the crisis. For the weekly updated list of distribution sites, click here.