COVID -19 and Your Business

The City is keenly aware that our businesses continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Below are many resources and suggestions for mitigating the negative impacts on your business. Stanwood businesses are the backbone of this community and keep our local economy moving and we are here to assist you. We are monitoring the coming financial assistance for businesses and strongly urge businesses to review the SBA Loan and Grant Programs links below. Stay patient with the SBA sites as the system is overwhelmed but the SBA is working these technicalities out.

Please contact Jennifer Ferguson, Jennifer.ferguson@ci.stanwood.wa.us,
360-454-5209 with questions on any of the resources available.

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Your Business is CLOSED-What Can You Do?

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

January 19

Snohomish County Provides Third Round of Small Business Relief Grants

Small Business Relief, Recovery and Resiliency (R3) Grant application is re-opening 
Today, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced the re-opening of the Small Business Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency (R3) Grant Program. This grant program is a key part of the relief and recovery action Snohomish County is taking to help businesses impacted by the pandemic. This grant program is part of the package of COVID-19 responses funded by CARES Act resources. Businesses that previously applied to the R3 program in 2020 but have not yet received an award will automatically be considered in this round and do not need to reapply.

READ MORE: https://snohomishcountywa.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2053 

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Governor Inslee announced "Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery", a COVID-19 phased recovery plan.

Beginning on January 11, the state will follow a regional recovery approach with every region beginning in Phase 1.  

regions

The regions are mostly based on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services. There will be eight regions of four or more counties, divided according to available health care services based on metrics such as hospitalizations, case data, and disease mobility.

The eight regions are as follows:

  • Central: King, Pierce, Snohomish
  • East: Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman
  • North: Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom
  • North Central: Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan
  • Northwest: Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason
  • South Central: Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Kittitas, Walla Walla, Yakima
  • Southwest: Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania, Wahkiakum
  • West: Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Thurston

Metrics

A region’s phase will be determined by the Department of Health (DOH) in response to four metric requirements. The final metrics for regions will be calculated on Friday, January 8 and will be effective January 11.

To go forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2, regions must meet all four metrics:

  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population (decrease >10%)
  • Decreasing trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population (decrease >10%)
  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%

To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least 3 metrics:

  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%.

Regions that fail to meet two or more of the above metrics will be moved back to Phase 1.

The metrics for each region will be updated on the Risk Assessment Dashboard every Friday. Dependent on a region’s metrics, DOH will move into a new phase — forward or backward — the following Monday.

DOH and local health departments reserve the right to move a region outside of this timing, and additional phases may be added as the state’s COVID-19 situation changes with continued vaccine distribution and other changes in public health response.

Phase 1

All regions will begin in Phase 1, because of current metrics.

Phase 1, for the most part, aligns with restrictions currently in place for most counties today, with a few key exceptions. Indoor fitness and outdoor entertainment, for example, were both previously prohibited, but will now be permitted with restrictions.

Currently, all indoor fitness is entirely prohibited. DOH now believes that the state can safely allow appointment-based fitness and training where there is no more than 1 customer per room or 500 square feet for large facilities. This will allow gyms to schedule people wanting to come in to work out in a safe way to ensure activity during the winter months. Masks and physical distancing are required.

Outdoor entertainment establishes will be permitted to reopen in Phase 1, including zoos, outdoor theaters and concert venues, and rodeos, among other outdoor venues. The operation must be by ticketed event only with groups of 10 maximum with a limit of two households. Timed ticketing is required, as well as facial coverings and physical distancing.

Indoor gatherings and indoor dining remain prohibited. Outdoor dining with a maximum of six and a limit for two households per table is permitted with an 11:00 PM close.

Retail, worship services, personal services, and professional services — where remote work isn’t available—are limited to 25% capacity.

Phase 2

Once a region meets all four required health metrics, they will be permitted to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2. This phase sees some relaxation in regulations, but masks and physical distancing are still required statewide for all activities.

Indoor social gatherings with people outside of the household begins being permitted in Phase 2 with a max of 5 people from outside the household and a limit of two households. Outdoor social gatherings maximum in this phase is increased to 15 individuals from two households.

In Phase 2, indoor dining will be permitted with a maximum 25% capacity and an 11:00 PM close. All other indoor activities must also follow a 25% capacity limit. This includes retail, entertainment, and groceries, as well as personal and professional services.

Indoor fitness must also follow the 25% capacity limit.

In Phase 2 moderate risk indoor sports and all sports outdoors gain the flexibility to have league games and competitions, which will help ensure opportunities for kids to be active, which is especially important during winter months and as kids navigate virtual or hybrid schooling.

Outdoor entertaining may host groups of up to 15 with the two-household limit and an overall 75 person maximum. Wedding and funeral ceremonies and indoor receptions may take place following the appropriate venue requirements. Food and drink service limited to restaurant guidance.

Governor Inslee emphasizes economic recovery and aid for small businesses as the focus of the 2021 legislative session

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement on Monday, regarding the first day of the 2021 legislative session:

"Today convenes one of the most unique and challenging legislative sessions I can remember for our state. As the pandemic era has forced us all to adapt our processes, the Legislature is no exception. At the same time, decisions await legislators that will impact our state for generations going forward.

"These are my priorities for this legislative session: Relief, recovery and resilience. Relief for the here-and-now; a recovery plan to turn the corner; and resilience for our long-term wellbeing, including economic health, public health, a stronger education system, and greater preparedness for future challenges, including climate change.

"My agenda calls for immediate action on $200 million more in aid for small businesses, and landlords and tenants. We must have more assistance to workers who have lost their jobs. We need to help everyone get back to a safe work environment. We need to keep people from losing their housing and get more who are experiencing homelessness under a safe roof.

Read the full statement here. Inslee also delivered his third inaugural address this afternoon and reiterated many of these same themes. You can watch his speech here.

U.S. Small Business Administration announces re-opening of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to small lenders this week

Businesses can begin preparing to apply now; the program will open to all lenders next week; information sessions for businesses offered by the Washington Small Business Development Center

Olympia – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Department of Commerce are reminding Washington’s small businesses, eligible nonprofits, and lenders the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been funded with $284 billion for a new round of forgivable loans. The loan program is administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Applications are being accepted now for both first and second draw loans.

The first round of the PPP, which ran from March to August 2020, helped 5.2 million small businesses nationwide keep 51 million American workers employed. Just over 107,000 Washington state businesses received PPP loans.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country, of Washington state,” DFI Director Charlie Clark said. “It’s so important they get the assistance they need to continue beyond this pandemic. Washington’s financial institutions stepped up in a big way during the first PPP allocations, and we know they will again.”

”These federal loans have been crucial for helping small businesses and our overall economy,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown said. “Small businesses can take steps now to get ready to apply, starting with finding a participating lender and finding out what kind of documentation they need to prepare.”

The SBA is currently only accepting loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs). Businesses can find a participating CFI at Lender Match. The program will open to all lenders next Tuesday.

The Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), funded by SBA and Washington State University, is providing virtual webinars and technical assistance on the loans:

Tracking economic recovery

Economic Recovery Dashboard updated

Commerce has built a tool that uses a variety of data sources to track Washington state’s economic recovery and resiliency. It displays the latest available data on employment, businesses, government assistance programs and consumer behavior, helping monitor the economic impact of COVID-19 across our state. The dashboard was updated Dec. 28 with new information that can help tell the story of our current economic situation. 

Resources for small businesses

SBA re-opens PPP program to community financial institutions first

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. SBA has reopened the program and is currently offering:

To promote access for smaller lenders and their customers, SBA is currently only accepting loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs). Lender Match can help you find a participating CFI.

You can learn more about additional federal COVID relief options from the SBA here

The WA Small Business Development Center hosted a webinar last week about the new PPP program. You can view the slide deck and other COVID-19 business support resources here.  

SBA social media: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | LinkedIn

SharedWork Program and the CARES Act

If returning part-time or full-time permanent employees back to work puts your business under additional strain, Washington’s nationally recognized SharedWork program might help your business and your employees.

SharedWork allows employers to reduce hours by as much as 50 percent, while their employees collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. Under the CARES Act, 100 percent of SharedWork unemployment benefits do not count against an employer's experience rating through March 2021. To determine if you’re eligible, call 800-752-2500 or visit www.esd.wa.gov/sharedwork.

SBA launches new, free online digital learning platform

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced the launch of Ascent, a first-of-its-kind, free digital e-learning platform geared to help women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses.  Ascent has valuable content such as tips on preparing and recovering from disasters, strategic marketing and business financial strategy development.

Visit Ascent.SBA.gov and register for your free access today. For additional opportunities on how women entrepreneurs can start, grow and recover, visit SBA.gov or contact your local SBA District Office

Requirements and Resources Webinar in 2021

This webinar will provide timely information and resources from state agency partners for small businesses. Click here to preview the agenda and register online for the English SBRR webinar on Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. Click to preview the agenda and register online for the Spanish SBRR webinar on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. or call 360-515-6101

Spanish Small Business Webinar in 2021 

This new streamlined 90-minute webinar features brief presentations from state partners and more “open-mic” dedicated time for more questions. Join us for the first 2021 Spanish SBRR webinar on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. Click to preview the agenda and register online or call 360-515-6101. For regular updates regarding the Spanish Small Business Requirements and Resources (SBRR) (Taller de Requerimientos y Recursos) webinar, please email: smallbusiness@esd.wa.gov

Click here to preview the agenda and register for the English SBRR webinar on Jan. 28 at 9 a.m.

Free 2021 safety and health calendars available

The 2021 Safety and Health Calendar is now available to order for free or download from L&I.  With its “spot the hazards” theme, it will help you keep your workplace safe and healthy all year long.

RESOURCES


Financial Resources

  1. SMALL BUSINESS GUIDANCE AND LOAN RESOURCES
  2. Employees-Layoffs/Unemployment
  3. DEPT OF REVENUE-TAX RELIEF
  4. loans
  5. small business guidance
  6. toolkits and checklists
  7. insurance
  8. telecommuting resources
  9. health and business safety
  10. Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants
  11. Potential Financial Resources
  1. Business Resiliency Resources
  2. Creative Strategies to Boost Your Business
  3. Helpful Resources for accurate and up to date information:
  4. Supporting our Public Safety, First Responders and Healthcare Workers

Business Resiliency Resources

WSBDC Business Resiliency Guide
https://localsnoco.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Business_Resiliency_Guide_Final-1.pdf



  1. List of Requirements Businesses Must Implement Before Reopening.
  2. Businesses Will Need to Plan for the New Normal
  3. Phased Approach to Reopening

The Governor’s Office Has Released a List of Requirements Businesses Must Implement Before Reopening.

Requirements for All Employers  

All phasesEmployers are required to:
• Maintain the six-foot physical distancing requirements for employees and patrons. Adopt other prevention measures such as barriers to block sneezes and coughs when physical distancing is not possible for a particular job task.
• Provide services while limiting close interactions with patrons.
• Provide adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for workers, vendors and patrons. Ensure employees have access to hand washing facilities so they can wash their hands frequently with soap and running water.
• Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of the business, particularly of high-touch surfaces.
Read the full list of requirements here.

  1. PAST UPDATES

January 4

Governor Inslee announces a one-week extension on statewide restrictions

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a one-week extension of the "Stay Safe–Stay Healthy" proclamation, along with the statewide restrictions imposed. The extension of the statewide restrictions will now expire on Jan. 11, 2021. No changes were made in the proclamation aside from the expiration date.

An updated reopening plan is currently being developed to provide a pathway for businesses and workers impacted by this order to reopen safely. The updated plan will be released next week. 

Read the full proclamation here


December 17

Update: Working Washington business grant applications being processed now

Friday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. was the priority application deadline for the current round of about $100 million in Working Washington business grants. Approximately 28,000 applications were submitted and Commerce is processing those as quickly as possible. Applicants will be notified before Dec. 31. It’s important that applicants be sure to check their email regularly – including spam folders – for notifications.

The focus of the grant is to help small businesses with annual revenue of less than $5 million that have been most affected by the governor’s most recent public health order, such as full-service restaurants and fitness centers, and businesses that have experienced significant cumulative losses such as bowling alleys and music venues.

The application portal closed at noon yesterday. If Commerce is able to fund all eligible businesses and funding remains, the agency may be able to consider applications submitted after Dec. 11.

Need help navigating the next steps for your business? WA Small Business Development Center provides no-cost advising and technical support

These are uncertain and challenging times for many small businesses, and it can be hard to know how to figure out the next steps. The Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by Washington State University and the U.S. Small Business Administration, has more than 30 expert business advisors working in communities across Washington state.

SBDC advisors provide one-on-one, confidential, no-cost advising services. They can help with strategy and business planning as well as advice on nuts-and-bolts operations. Examples of issues they can advise on include:

  • Identifying sources of capital or other financial help
  • Effectively handling difficult employment issues
  • Implementing tools that strengthen your virtual or e-commerce operations
  • Options for pausing or closing your business

This team is dedicated to supporting small businesses and they want to help. Visit wsbdc.org for more information or call them at (833) 492-7232 to set up an appointment.

Unemployment updates

Apply for extended benefits when PEUC expires on Dec. 26 

PEUC is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and it’s a federal program that expires on Dec. 26. Extended Benefits (EB) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are both federally funded programs. Under federal law, there will be fewer available weeks of EB beginning the week of Dec. 13. If you are receiving PUA, that reduction began the week of Nov. 22.  Federal law reduces the number of weeks for both programs. Extended Benefits (EB) changes from 20 to 13 weeks beginning the week of Dec. 13.  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) changes from 46 to 39 weeks beginning the week of Nov. 22. Curious about why this change is occurring? Learn more about benefit extensions.

COVID-19 update: Job search requirements currently optional

Job search requirements are currently suspended for regular and extended unemployment benefits. When the requirements are reinstated, you will need to comply with the job search requirements specific to Extended Benefits. When claiming extended benefits, one must contact at least four employers each week.

Resources for small businesses

Streamlined Small Business Requirements and Resources (SBRR) webinar in 2021

The new streamlined one hour webinar features brief presentations from state partners and more “open-mic” dedicated time for more Q&A. Join us for the first 2021 SBRR webinar on Jan. 28 at 9 a.m. Click to preview agenda and register online. 

November 30

Round 3: Working Washington Business Grants -  $50 million

Governor Inslee announced an additional $70 million for business grants. $50 million of that is for a new round of Working Washington business grants. The remainder will go toward funding all qualified businesses that applied in earlier rounds of the state's resiliency grant program. (NOTE: Businesses who applied for the resiliency grant program will not need to take any action).

The application portal and additional information will be posted at www.commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants.

Who can apply?

These grants are prioritized for:

  • Small businesses with annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019

AND

  • Businesses in the sectors that are most impacted by the recent public health measures as well as businesses in sectors that have experienced significant, cumulative impacts. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys, and music and event venues.
  • Certain nonprofits may also be eligible if they have a primary business activity that falls into a similar category as noted above. Example – a nonprofit full-service restaurant or nonprofit music venue.

If the state Department of Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants from the priority pool, and funds remain, Commerce may be able to provide grants to additional businesses or nonprofits from other sectors or who have annual revenues larger than $5 million.

What does the grant pay for?

  • The maximum grant award will be up to $20,000.
  • The grant can only cover expenses or costs incurred due to COVID-19 and that were necessary to continue business operations.

How can I apply?

  • The online application portal will open early next week (the week of Nov. 30). The portal link will be available at commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants. Additional information about eligibility and prioritization will also be posted there.
  • Priority will be given to applications received by Dec. 10If Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants who submit by that time, we may be able to consider eligible applicants who submit after the 10th.
  • Checklist of the information you’ll need to have ready:
    • Applicant W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number
    • Copy of valid government-issued photo I.D.
    • For Tribal-member owned businesses: license or certification if business activity is conducted outside the tribal jurisdiction; letter or certification from the tribe recognizing you as a business if business activity is within the tribal jurisdiction.
    • Copy of 2019 Tax Return or other confirmation of Business Gross Revenues for 2019.
    • For businesses with a physical location, evidence of that location, such as lease, tax statement, utility bill, etc.
  • NAICS code or clear description of your primary business activity. A NAICS code is helpful, but not necessary. If you have never used a NAICS code, you can learn more here: What is a NAICS Code? and explore NAICS codes to see which one fits your business.

 Snohomish County Small Business Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency (R3) Grant Program 

The application process for the R3 Grant Program is now open. Applicants can visit http://www.workforcesnohomish.org for details and application materials. It is anticipated that it will take most businesses less than 30 minutes to apply. It is also anticipated awards will made within five weeks of application. Grants in amounts up to $25,000 will be awarded to qualifying businesses. Businesses applying for grants under this program must:

  • Be licensed to do business in the State of Washington.
  • Be a business physically located in Snohomish County.
  • Have 20 or fewer employees (including the business owner/worker).
  • Be in operation for one or more years.
  • Certify at least a 25% reduction in revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Able to demonstrate that the business was a going concern before March 23, 2020.
November 12

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Kits

In mid-November, Snohomish County will provide kits of personal protective equipment (PPE) that include masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer, and gloves, to small businesses throughout the county. 

Chambers and business organizations are coming together in partnership to provide these critical items to small businesses (having approximately 20 or fewer employees) in Snohomish County to help businesses of all types and their customers stay open safely during the holiday season.

 Each box of PPE will include:

  • 1 - infrared thermometer
  • 50 - cloth face masks (reusable)
  • 150 - disposable masks
  • 2 - (32 oz/1,000 ml) bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 100 - pair of disposable gloves
  • Informational Flyer

 To learn more, please visit: https://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/5749/PPE-Kits 

If you are a small business interested in signing up to receive a free kit at a drive-through contactless distribution event:

SIGN UP HERE

 

November 4

Resources from the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development

The U.S. Small Business Administration has an Office of Veterans Business Development. Visit their site to learn more about the programs available to help veterans, service members and their families start or grow their business.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness applications still being accepted

There has been some confusion about whether applications for PPP loan forgiveness were due Oct. 31 but the U.S. Small Business Administration has reassured applicants there is no defined deadline. Business owners can still apply and use the simplified application which significantly reduces the time and paperwork needed for PPP loan forgiveness. Read the SBA’s “6 Things About PPP Loan Forgiveness You Should Know” for more info.


COVID-19 Business Needs Assessment 

Snohomish County created an Advisory Group to identify and develop strategies to reopen our economy. EASC is asking our community to complete the 5-minute Business Needs Assessment to ensure your needs are heard. The Assessment asks businesses how they have been impacted by the economic shutdown, their plans for reopening, and the support they need to reopen successfully.

The primary focus of Snohomish County’s Office of Economic Recovery and Resiliency is to stabilize our local economy, plan for economic recovery, build resiliency for our local employers, and support our local workforce. This will be a multi-disciplinary effort focused on economic development, workforce training and support, and human services. The office will assist local businesses in recovery and workforce training and help organizations get our residents back to work while partnering with human service providers to support those most in need.

Requirement Updates Affecting Employers and Workers

September 23

Allowable activities expanded for "Personal Services" business category

"Personal Service Provider" guidance includes salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, tattoo artists, and other similar categories. A recent revision now permits some close-contact services (such as facials and beard trimmings) provided the worker wears an N95 respirator*.  An FDA-approved surgical mask combined with a face shield will suffice as long as the provider has N95 respirators on backorder, but are not immediately accessible.   *Refer to the N95 segment below for more information.

New guidance offered for miscellaneous venues

Governor Jay Inslee issued guidance for miscellaneous venues, including  convention/conference centers, hotel meeting spaces and other similar venues. The guidance allows business meetings and similar activities to occur away from business premises and with additional attendees, so long as all requirements are met.

N95 Respirators and Related Documentation

Employers must enact a respiratory protection program when workers require respirators

Fit testing is just one element of worker respiratory protection. Chapter 296-842 of the Washington Administrative Code details an employer’s obligations when workers encounter hazards that require respirator use.

Employer responsibilities include designation of an administrator, regulating voluntary respirator use, maintenance of a written program, record-keeping, medical evaluation, fit testing and training. Each is a legal requirement.

Workers must be medically cleared and fit-tested to wear N95 respirators

A respirator is a critical defense against respiratory hazards, including COVID-19. A respirator works by filtering air inhaled by its wearer. This filtration is only effective if the seal is complete – if contaminants get around the filter, the wearer is at risk.

Fit testing is an important and legally-required precaution for workers that require respirators. Fit testing ensures that the respirator properly seals against the wearer’s face, preventing contaminants from sneaking around the filter.

N95 is required when L&I standards indicate high risk of exposure

This L&I document is the legal standard for respiratory protection selection during the pandemic. For “high-risk” and “extremely high-risk” work, fit-tested and rated respiratory protection is required. See L&I's “Which mask for which task

The FDA has approved some KN95 models for use in high-risk work settings

KN95 masks are generally more available and affordable than N95 masks, at the moment. The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations for some models of KN95 masks, permitting their use in contexts where NIOSH-approved N95 respirators are required. Check the FDA EUA page to see if a KN95 model of interest has received EUA. If so, that model may be used “high-risk” or “extremely high-risk” work settings.

MISCELLANEOUS

On May 4th, 2020 Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-25.3 and outlined the “Safe Start” plan, a phased approach to re-open Washington’s economy.

Under the plan, businesses and activities will re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures & health standards in place. Businesses may also need to meet additional requirements developed specifically for their industry. View the COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers for industry specific requirements.

Spanish small business webinars provide up-to-date info, answer live questions

A monthly Spanish language webinar series presents information specific to Washington small businesses. The series features brief presentations from state and federal partners and open-mic Q&A time. Topics include unemployment insurance, returning employees to work, PPP and EIDL loans, workplace safety, face covering requirements and other topics important to employers. The next webinar will be held on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. 

There may be small business relief funding you weren't aware of

Check with the Associate Development Organization to learn about local relief programs.

Updates to "Personal Services" rules require masking of both customer and service provider

Business activity requirements for "Personal Services" applies to cosmetologists, hairstylists, manicurists, tanning salons, makeup and tattoo artists, and other similar categories. New language clarifies that all customers of these businesses must wear a face covering unless directed by a medical professional who says otherwise. That means that certain services such as facials or beard trimmings are no longer permitted.

Recent updates for agricultural events, religious organizations, fitness centers and gatherings

Requirements for religious and faith-based organizations and indoor fitness and training have been updated recently. Requirements for agricultural events were recently announced to apply to livestock and horse exhibitions as well as companion animal shows. An FAQ document was published recently to clarify some details related to gatherings, food and alcohol service and events.

Modified Phases 1 and 2, or 10 persons in Phase 3

A gathering refers to a social setting in which non-household members convene, indoors or outside. Social gatherings are a leading vector of COVID-19; sustained close contact with non-household members is known to be a source of spread.

Business activity is treated differently than social activity

By contrast, business activity generally refers to commercial activity or organized events. Business activity is limited  by a percentage of capacity or a standard for social distancing on their own property. If not in their place of business, then they must abide by the above gathering limits for their respective county. Weddings and funerals, religious organizations and restaurants have specific regulations that take precedence over gathering limits.

Back-to-school stress may affect employees

As working parents confront the uncertainty of the school year, anxiety and stress may manifest at work. If your company offers schedule flexibility, remote work flexibility, or employee assistance programs, it may be helpful to review those benefits with employees now to allow working parents to plan ahead.

Worker Safety

Employees exempt from the mask requirement must provide documentation

Employees with a medical issue or disability complicating mask use must furnish an accommodation statement from their medical professional. Employers may not simply allow the employee to work without a mask with no other mitigations in place.

Basic face shields do not sufficiently meet the face covering requirement

Face shields protect the wearer from particles but do not sufficiently inhibit the travel of particles from the wearer. Only face shields with a cloth attachment to inhibit particles meet the workplace face covering requirement.

Federal relief still available for small businesses

A number of federal relief programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paycheck Protection Program accepting new applications through Aug. 8
The Paycheck Protection Program offers potentially forgivable loans to a recently expanded roster of small businesses and nonprofits to support workforce retention. Forgiveness is reduced if full-time headcount declines or if salaries and wages decrease. Refer to the program's website to review application materials and eligibility requirements.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans may cover common operational expenses
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are designed to provide economic relief to small businesses confronting a temporary loss in revenue. Borrowed EIDL funds may be used to cover a variety of operational and capital expenses made challenging by the pandemic. EIDL terms propose a modest 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and a 2.75% rate for nonprofits with a 30-year maturity and automatic one-year deferment period before monthly payments must begin. These flexible and low-interest loans are available to a variety of eligible small businesses.

SBA Express Bridge Loans may offer expedited loans to small businesses
The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses with an existing business relationship with an SBE Express Lender to quickly access up to $25,000. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

SBA Debt Relief programs may cover principal, interest, and fees of some federal loans
As part of SBA’s relief efforts, the agency will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to Sept. 27, 2020.

More information about SBA programs are available on the SBA website.

New business activity guidance issued by the Office of the Governor

Several business activity guidance documents have been updated to reflect changes in understanding of the spread of COVID-19. Live entertainment and bar service were recently discontinued in restaurants and bars. Some construction workers from out-of-state may be subject to quarantine or testing. Film production and agriculture are subject to amended rules related to face coverings, distancing and sanitation

SBA funding and programs remain active to support small businesses

While the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program concluded last weekend, several other federal small business relief programs remain active. Among them is the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to offer small businesses forgivable loans for use on payroll and some operational costs. The PPP application window was recently extended through Aug. 8, and over $100 billion in funding is still available in the program’s budget. Refer to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for information on active small business supports.

Federal CARES Act funding reaching Washington small businesses

The Washington State Department of Commerce has helped to allocate federal CARES Act funds to local governments statewide, and those funds are now beginning to reach small businesses in the form of grants and relief programs. The City of Snoqualmie has established a grant program to support small, locally-owned businesses. A relief program in Spokane County has been established for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The City of Pasco is making available relief grants of up to $30,000 for small businesses. Refer to your county economic development organization website for information on relief programs within your community.

Small business webinars review available relief and resources

This webinar series reviews information specific to Washington small businesses. A panel of state and federal partners is present to respond to live Q&A regarding unemployment insurance, returning employees to the workplace, relief funding, workplace safety measures and other topics important to employers. The next webinars will be held on July 16 at 1:30 p.m. and July 21 at 9:30 a.m., and Spanish-language webinars will be held on July 28 at 5:30 p.m. and July 30 at 8:30 a.m.

Leave is available to sick workers or those caring for a sick family member

Community spread of COVID-19 is increasing statewide. Businesses and workers may wish to prepare for the possibility of illness. Paid Family and Medical Leave is available to workers that require time off to care for themselves or a family member due to a qualifying event, such as a serious health condition (including COVID-19). Workers may use accrued paid sick leave if they are sick, if they are caring for a qualified family member who is sick, if their child’s day care or school is closed for COVID-19 reasons and they need to provide care, or if their workplace is closed by a public official in connection with COVID-19 and the employment relationship isn’t terminated through a layoff. Additionally, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide employees with additional paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. In cases of documented or probably workplace COVID-19 exposure, affected workers may be eligible for worker’s compensation.

Masking and COVID-19 notification requirements for businesses

As of July 7, businesses are required to demand that all customers and employees comply with the statewide face covering requirement. The statewide order requires that masks be worn inside any building or business open to the public, outdoor public areas when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, and other settings. No goods or services are to be furnished to customers not in compliance with statewide face covering requirements. Refer to the original order for a full list of requirements and exceptions for face coverings. Individuals with certain health or medical conditions are excepted and are not required to produce documentation of the condition to be considered exempt. Please be considerate of those unable to wear a mask, they should not be shamed or ridiculed.

Best practices to address unmasked customers detailed

The Office of the Governor has offered best practices for business owners in summary of recent face covering requirements. Anticipating exchanges between businesses and unmasked customers, the document offers some do’s (ask if a medical issue complicates mask use, arrange certain safety accommodations) and don’ts (ask for details or proof of disability or medical condition).  Please be considerate of those unable to wear a mask, they should not be shamed or ridiculed.

SHOP SAFE AND DISCOVER STANWOOD CAMANO Campaign 

Highlights the dedication local businesses have for our health and safety as we move forward in re-opening Stanwood Camano.  Find more information on our Business Resources page.

Safe Start Phased Reopening County-by-County 

The Governor, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, has established a data-driven approach to reopen Washington and modify physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically.  Read the Safe Start Phased Reopening County-by-County Plan here.

Rebound and Recovery Task Force Launches Online PPE Marketplace, Business Tool Kit

AWB Launches Website to Help Washington Get Back to Business.  The website, located at www.reboundandrecovery.org, features an online portal to connect Washington businesses with ‘Made in Washington’ manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), plus a toolkit for small businesses to help prepare their physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols with employees and customers.  

The Rebound and Recovery Task Force aims to get Washington businesses open safely and quickly. This week, the task force launched an online resource to connect businesses to tool kits with customizable guidance and materials and a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) marketplace to help them get ready to safely welcome back employees and customers.   Read the press release.

Snohomish County Commissioners, along with the Snohomish Health District, have voted and approved submission of the application for variance to move to the county to Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan.

This is a significant move for our local economy and getting people back to work in a safe manner. The next step will be for the state to approve the application.


Travel 
· CDC Guidelines for travel health information

Legislation of note 
· NEW The latest update on the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) signed into law on 3/17/2020 - K & L Gates.
· Summary of latest Congressional act on COVID-19 response

On March 31st, the Governor was joined by Kris Johnson, President & CEO of the Association of Washington Business, and Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Outdoor Research, in asking manufacturers throughout the state to make safety and testing equipment needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

♦SURGICAL MASKS        ♦SWAB TESTS        ♦SALINE SOLUTION        ♦VIALS        ♦N95 MASKS        ♦GLOVES        ♦SURGICAL GOWNS        ♦FACE SHIELDS

Companies interested in helping in this effort can review the How You Can Help tab on the state’s coronavirus website then contact City Administrator Jennifer Ferguson for assistance getting connected with the state. Email: jennifer.ferguson@stanwoodwa.org | Phone: 360-454-5209.



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