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.email@example.com,
360-454-5209 with questions on any of the resources available.
Stay Connected with the Office of the Governor:
Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund poised to provide COVID assistance
The U.S. Small Business Administration will soon be accepting applications for assistance under the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
“We are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devastated by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said last week. “With the launch of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, we’re prioritizing funding to the hardest-hit small businesses – irreplaceable gathering places in our neighborhoods and communities that need a lifeline now to get back on their feet.”
The SBA plans to spend the next couple weeks in outreach and training as well as a seven-day pilot period to address any technical issues ahead of the public launch. Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public.
Once the application portal opens, the SBA plans to use the first 21-day period to prioritize reviewing applications from small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
How employers can help defeat this pandemic through vaccination
Employers play a crucial role in COVID-19 prevention and navigating our way out of this pandemic. One of the most effective ways to contribute right now is ensuring the Snohomish County workforce has information and access to COVID vaccination.
Starting April 15, all adults in Washington are eligible to be vaccinated. Here are four tips for helping your employees get their vaccine. This makes the workplace safer for them and for customers or clients, as well as helping reduce cases and severe illness so we can resume more activities.
Proactively share reliable information. There are a lot of rumors around COVID vaccines, but extensive studies as well as what we’re seeing with ongoing vaccination in the community indicate these vaccines are safe and effective. Employers can have a direct impact on reducing the spread of misinformation. Remember that you are a trusted resource for your staff and colleagues.
- Make sure employees know their options for accessing appointments.
- Multiple mass vaccination sites are available in Snohomish County. Registration information is available at http://bit.ly/snocovaccine. When new appointments are posted, an update is shared to the Snohomish Health District and Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management social media pages. If your employees use social media, they can follow these pages on Twitter and Facebook (both Health District and Emergency Management) as well as Instagram (Health District).
- The Washington State Department of Health has an online vaccine locator tool that can help people find appointments near them, as well: https://vaccinelocator.doh.wa.gov/.
- Don’t forget your primary care provider or regular pharmacy – if employees haven’t already, they should consider checking out vaccination options through their normal healthcare providers, too. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is shipping vaccines directly to many local pharmacies, including Albertsons, Costco, Health Mart Pharmacies, Rite Aid, Kroger, and Walmart. For a full list of Federal Retail Pharmacy Program locations, visit www.vaccinefinder.org.
- For employees who are struggling to navigate online registration or find an appointment, or who need language assistance or other support, they can connect with the COVID-19 call center for Snohomish County at 425-339-5278. This call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and can register people over the phone.
- Stay informed and consider what options will work best for your employees. The Washington State Department of Health has prepared a toolkit with more information for businesses and employers. You can check out those materials here: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/covid-19-vaccines-toolkit-businesses-and-employers
- Allow time for your employees to get vaccinated so that it is not a financial hardship. While the vaccine itself is no cost to patients, worry about missing work and missing out on needed income can be a barrier. Allowing paid time for your employees to get their shots now will pay off in the long run. This helps keep your workforce healthy and reduces sick days, preventing loss of productivity due to staffing shortages. It can also improve morale and employee safety, as well as making customers feel safer and more comfortable in your place of business.
Having fully vaccinated employees also decreases the number of people who would need to quarantine if there were to be an exposure to COVID. If a fully vaccinated employee is identified as a close contact, they do not need to quarantine unless symptoms develop.
You can make the difference in whether an employee chooses to get vaccinated by ensuring they can do so without losing income or worrying about penalties for missing work – including if they need to take a day off after their first or second dose as they may feel unwell due to normal vaccine side effects like mild fever, fatigue or muscle aches. A day or two is significantly less time than an employee would miss if they became ill with COVID. You’re helping protect them, their families, and their coworkers against hospitalization, long-term health complications, or death due to this illness.
WSDA GRANT PROGRAM OFFERS HELP TO QUALIFYING AG BUSINESSES
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is offering grants to small agriculture-related businesses in sectors that have suffered economically due to the coronavirus pandemic, but have been left out of earlier relief programs.
The WSDA Relief and Recovery grants, funded through a partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce), are intended to assist small businesses in four agriculture sectors, which include:
- Shellfish growers
- Farmers market organizations
- Agritourism farms
- Small breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries that depend on tap and tasting room sales
The WSDA grants are a way to bolster the health and diversity of the entire state economy by supporting disproportionately affected and previously underserved agricultural sectors. These four sectors were selected because they did not qualify for other small business and agriculture COVID-19 relief programs.
The application period for the WSDA grants will be open for two weeks, beginning as soon as Friday, April 9. Visit agr.wa.gov/grants to learn more about each of the grants and whether your business qualifies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic hardships for many businesses, including many in the food and agriculture industry. Our goal with this grant program is to find a way to help some of these businesses that have had difficulty accessing assistance for their particular operations,” WSDA Director Derek Sandison said. “We truly appreciate the state’s allocation of funding for this effort and our partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce that has made this possible.”
“Commerce is very appreciative of the opportunity to partner with WSDA to support these hard-hit sectors,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “These businesses contribute significantly to our economy, and they also contribute to the cultural vibrancy of our local communities and state.”
Businesses who do not qualify for the WSDA grants can visit www.commercegrants.com for information on other assistance available to Washington businesses.
Spending on masks and other PPE is tax-deductible during COVID
The Internal Revenue Service issued Announcement 2021-7 PDF Friday clarifying that the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses.
The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).
For more information see the full press release.
SBA to increase lending limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans
March 18, 2021
Washington State Department of Commerce to offer Working Washington Grants: Round 4
Working Washington Round 4 offers grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.
Priorities for funding are:
- Businesses required to close.
- Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
- Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations.
- Equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.
Application Portal Opens
Technical assistance in multiple languages will be available
Once the application portal opens, business owners can call one of our technical assistance centers for questions and help. Assistance will be available in multiple languages. To see which languages, visit our frequently asked questions section.
The Working Washington Round 4 Small Business Grant program application portal is scheduled to open March 29. Read the full release here.
To receive an email notification when the portal opens, sign up for the state’s COVID-19 Business & Worker email newsletter here.
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.
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:
- “SBA Round 2 COVID-19 relief and PPP Application” is at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15. Register here.
- Additional PPP webinars will be provided every Friday at 10 a.m. through March. For more information, visit https://wsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events.
Tracking economic recovery
Economic Recovery Dashboard updated
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:
- PPP First Draw Loans for first time program participants.
- PPP Second Draw Loans beginning Jan.13 for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan.
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.
- SBA E-Bulletin with information about the PPP program and other relief options
- Fact sheets: Paycheck Protection Program First Draw Loans: Overview (sba.gov) and Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans: Overview (sba.gov)
- SBA PPP web pages: www.sba.gov/ppp or www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection
- Email updates: www.sba.gov/updates
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
Free 2021 safety and health calendars available
- SMALL BUSINESS GUIDANCE AND LOAN RESOURCES
- DEPT OF REVENUE-TAX RELIEF
- small business guidance
- toolkits and checklists
- telecommuting resources
- health and business safety
- Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants
- Potential Financial Resources
Help to pay your employees
· The Employment Security Department has new emergency rules in place. For example, workers who are ill with COVID-19 can qualify for benefits. Also,
workers that are exposed and quarantined while the business remains open
can now qualify for unemployment insurance. This ESD Unemployment chart
can help determine which benefit applies to your situation. This FAQ page for
workers and businesses answers questions and gives resources to help relieve
the burden of temporary layoffs.
o Paid sick and safe leave (and FAQs about how it applies to COVID-19)
o Unemployment insurance
o Paid Family Medical Leave (and FAQs about how it applies to COVID-19)
o Workers’ Compensation FAQs and link to apply
On March 28, 2020, Gov. Inslee issued Proclamation 20-21, which waived the statutory requirement that unemployment-benefits claimants serve an unpaid waiting week before they start receiving benefits. Following several extensions from the Legislature, the proclamation and the waiver expired on Dec. 28, 2020. Washignton's Employment Security Department (ESD) has adopted emergency rules to provide guidance regarding unemployment claims that are being filed now and how the waiting week waiver affects an individual's claim. For more information on all ESD’s rulemaking activities, please visit agency rulemaking homepage.
If your employees are affected by COVID-19, Employment Security has programs that may be able to help. They adopted a series of emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses. Use this link to access the Unemployment Department https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19
· Layoff assistance for Workers and Businesses
TESTING FOR the COVID19 VIRUS
The Public Health Department is asking that businesses communicate Washington state’s guidelines around COVID-19—including testing—as broadly as possible to the workforce and their families to help with any confusion. The attached testing guidelines is a one pager that you can use to get the message out. TESTING GUIDELINES
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE-TAX PAYMENT RELIEF
The Department of Revenue has set up assistance for businesses and will provide extensions for filing and paying tax returns, tax assessments, and billings that come due during the state of emergency. Work with taxpayers that have payment plan agreements to extend payment dates and reschedule a planned audit (contact the auditor). To request relief, Business owners can request the relief above by sending a secure email in their My DOR account or by calling Revenue’s customer service staff at 360-705-6705, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Businesses with a temporary registration that have had their event cancelled should notify the Department by replying to the original email they received when they received their temporary certificate. If they no longer have the original email, they may email firstname.lastname@example.org to cancel their temporary registration.
o U.S. Small Business Administration guidance and loan resources
o U.S. Small Business Administration export working capital program. For
exporters, the SBA’s Export Working Capital Program can help small
businesses gain access to capital.
o U. S. Chamber Small Business Resources for Surviving Coronavirus
o Washington state small business resiliency guide
o Washington small business guidance
· Federal: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business preparedness checklist
· State: WA Emergency Management Division page
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
· Graphics toolkit
· Resources, Response and Impact
· Workplace Tips for Employees
· Coronavirus Response Toolkit
· NEW Washington state’s official COVID-19 website
· NEW Emergency Management Division Business Re-Entry Registration: website and PDF
· Governor Inslee’s office resource links and links specifically for businesses
· Governor Inslee’s News Releases
· Federal: National School closure map
· State: WA school guidance and resources
· Veteran affairs coronavirus update page
· National Association of Manufacturing’s COVID-19 Resources
Insurance: If employers have bought the right endorsements, insurance policies may cover cancelled events or businesses losses. Contact the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner at 1-800-562-6900 or go to www.insurance.wa.gov for more information.
· Xfinity - Internet Essentials will increase speeds from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all customers. This speed increase will happen automatically - no action is required by customers. In addition, new customers will receive two months of free service. Click here for more details.
· Jamm - a voice and video collaboration and communication for teams working remotely is offering it free of charge. This service integrates well with Slack.
· Google - Hangouts Meet, which allows up to 250 participants and live streaming up to 100,000 viewers per domain, and G-suite is available to all customers free of charge until July 1, 2020.
· Loom - This video recording and sharing service offers boosts to free service plan, discounted prices on LoomPro and free access for educational institutions through July 1, 2020.
· Microsoft 365 E1 - free 6 month trial
· LinkedIn - 16 courses offered for free - “Remote working - setting yourself and your teams up for success”
· DropBox - offering free Dropbox Business and HelloSign Enterprise subscriptions for 3 months to nonprofits and NGOs focused on fighting COVID-19. If you are an organization working to stop the virus or provide relief, apply here.
· LogisticsManagement - Librestream Onsight platform remote expert app free. This allows remote work to maintain the benefit of in-person meetings (content markup, shared visual/audio, and more).
Health and Business Safety
· Center for Disease Control (CDC)
o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Fact Sheet
o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Interim Guidance for Businesses
o Business cleaning/disinfecting guidelines (CDC)
o NEW More cleaning/disinfecting guidelines (EPA)
· OSHA’s Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (PDF) · Prescriptions: Walgreens and CVS to waive drug delivery fees during crisis · Higher risk people: follow this Centers for Disease Control guideline.
· WA Department of Health COVID-19 page
· Washington State Department of Health Resources and Recommendations
· Health insurance enrollment: WA Special enrollment period Health Benefit Exchange
· WA State Hospital Association
Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants
Apply for up to $10,000 in emergency funding for small businesses with less than 10 employees http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/covid-grants/
The grant application period has closed. The Department of Commerce is reviewing applications and will announce grantees soon.
Federal legislation recently passed to address the outbreak classified as a disaster under the Small Business Administration, which will allow business owners to access low-interest loans to mitigate the economic impact. SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets.
Two Ways to Apply
Apply By USPS: Businesses are encouraged to fill out and submit the attached worksheet.
Completed applications should be mailed to:
U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Apply Online: You may apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov.ela
SBA Customer Service Center
1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email email@example.com.
- Business Resiliency Resources
- Creative Strategies to Boost Your Business
- Helpful Resources for accurate and up to date information:
- Supporting our Public Safety, First Responders and Healthcare Workers
Business Resiliency Resources
WSBDC Business Resiliency Guide
Creative Strategies to Boost Your Business
Update or create your Google Business Listing
If your business is open, tell people
Post your plans and hours on your website prominently (include on your contact page, your home page, etc.) and post to social media.
Share your efforts to keep people safe. In addition to taking all prudent precautions like washing your hands, identify your protocol to keep your business clean and sanitary then communicate what you’re doing. Again, post it prominently on your website, share it to social media, hang a flyer on your door or windows. This is also a chance to share the processes you’ve had in place all along.
- List of Requirements Businesses Must Implement Before Reopening.
- Businesses Will Need to Plan for the New Normal
- Phased Approach to Reopening
The Governor’s Office Has Released a List of Requirements Businesses Must Implement Before Reopening.
Requirements for All Employers
All phases – Employers 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.
Business Owners Should Start Planning for the "New Normal".
Currently, only essential businesses are allowed to operate during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order. To operate a business currently classified as non-essential, public health prerequisites must be met. Please review the documents Washington State COVID -19 Response "New Normal" Planning as a guideline to reopening your business.
Find information on:
- Economic and social impacts of shutdown
- Two-tiered checklist for employer safe work plans
- Role of employers in screening, tracking, and tracing
- Proposals for supporting higher risk employees
- Framework to help employers tailor their own plans
In an April 20, 2020 press conference , Governor Inslee spoke about the safe return to public life in Washington State.
The return to public life will occur in measured steps, guided by science, and informed by our public health needs, ability to mitigate impacts, and the response of our communities and will use that data to make decisions about loosening or tightening restrictions on the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. A preliminary three-step plan was laid out:
1. Protect the Health and Safety of Washingtonians
2. Facilitate a Safe Start and Transition to Economic Recovery
3. Support All People and Communities
Governor Inslee’s Policy Brief can be read here.
Governor Inslee has released Washington’s Phased Approach to Reopening Business and Modifying Physical Distancing Measures.
*High-risk populations are currently defined by CDC as persons 65 years of age and older, people of all ages with underlying medical conditions (particularly not well controlled) including people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people who are immunocompromised, people with severe obesity, people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and people with liver disease; people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
PLACES is the local directory for Stanwood and Camano Island businesses.
- Help customers find you
- Use the backend forum to communicate with other businesses about local issues, or events you may want to plan
- Stay in the know-the City of Stanwood will utilize the business discussion board to:
✔start our business roundtable discussions
✔communicate for getting our local economy going.