King County Enters Phase 2
On Friday June 19th, King County entered Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start plan. Limited social gatherings may be held with five or fewer people outside your household. Restaurants, retailers and other businesses can serve customers. Most businesses will be required to operate at reduced capacity and hours, and all will be required to follow state guidelines designed to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. These call for social distancing, regular hand washing and, with few exceptions, wearing cloth masks. While counties must remain in each stage of the four-phased “Safe Start” process for at least three weeks, until health authorities can measure their progress towards eliminating the virus, Gov Inslee has extended the pause indefinitely on counties moving ahead in the Safe Start Washington plan. Learn more here.
Pioneer Square Business Owners and Managers Facebook Page
As the neighborhood continues to navigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we want to offer an opportunity to reconnect. We’ve heard from several of you that the opportunity for business owners and retailers to participate in an online forum would be a valuable outlet during these times to share resources, support, and stories. In responding to these requests we would like to invite you to join Pioneer Square Business Owners& Managers Facebook group. While this Facebook group has been inactive in recent years, we believe the time is pertinent to leverage the space and the opportunity to connect one another. Click here to join the Pioneer Square Business Owners and Managers Facebook page.
- Guidance from Employment Security Department Washington State for Workers and Businesses (ESDWA)
- Governor’s Office resource list for Washington State business and workers impacted by COVID-19
- Resources offered: financial assistance, export assistance, insurance assistance. Note, this list reiterates ESDWA worker resources.
Financial Resources (Federal)
- On June 15 the SBA reopened the EIDL application for new applications from qualified businesses. Businesses that have not previously applied may now apply for the loan which can be used for debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a PPP loan. Read more and apply here
- SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Washington Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email email@example.com for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
- The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.
- This slide deck can guide you through the disaster loan program and includes step-by-step instructions on completing the application.
- The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic development has compiled a summary of the CARES Act and a FAQ.
- OED provides technical assistance to businesses applying for SBA loans and understanding the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aids, Relief & Security). This includes helping businesses navigate the application process and documentation. For general inquiries, please email OED@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8090.
- Note, OED is warning small businesses about scammers seeking to prey on the small business community that has already been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. OED has received numerous reports of scammers posing as either lenders or third-party providers offering to assist businesses with their federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications. If contacted by a scammer, OED recommends businesses report scams to the Washington State Office of Attorney General, by calling 1-800-551-4636 from Monday to Friday 10 AM to 3 PM or completing a claim here.
- The IRS has issued guidance on the two new COVID related tax credits for employers. One is called the Employee Retention Credit. The other tax credit is related to the temporary paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave established under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA).
Financial Resources (Local)
- Seattle City Light (SCL) is reaching out to local business communities to share information about resources and services offered in response to COVID-19 to help during these challenging times. In addition to flexible payment plans, SCL is offering bill deferral to all customers and free virtual energy assessment to identify energy saving tips to save customers money on their electricity bill. Learn more about eligibility and request Seattle City Light bill deferral or a virtual energy assessment here or call (206) 256-5200.
- Seattle Public Utility and Seattle City Light Deferment Program
- Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle City Light (SCL) will provide immediate utility relief for customers, both residential and commercial, financially impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Deferral of B&O Taxes
- Effective immediately, the department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) will defer business and occupation (B&O) tax collections for eligible business owners, allowing small business owners increased flexibility during a period of financial duress caused by the COVID-19 outbreak
- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has signed a coronavirus emergency order prohibiting evictions of small businesses and nonprofits for at least 60 days. Find the full Civil Emergency Order here.
- COVID-19 Related Relief for Taxpayers
Financial Resources (Private)
- Google Ads Credits for Small Businesses
- Google recently announced that they are providing $340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year. Credit notifications will appear in their Google Ads accounts and can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across Google advertising platforms.
- Visit Seattle is deferring all dues payments by a minimum of 3 months, including any past-due invoices. In addition, Visit Seattle will credit 3 additional months of Visit Seattle partnership to all businesses that have already made their 2020 dues payment.
E-Commerce and Delivery/Takeout Resources
- The Alliance for Pioneer Square previously hosted a workshop series with Grow with Google international Speaker Corissa Saint Laurent. The three-part webinar series features topics on how businesses can reach customers online with Google, use data to drive growth, and how they can improve their websites. Businesses who were unable to attend can now view a recording and a copy of the presentation slides from both workshops below:
- The Alliance for Pioneer Square hosted a one hour workshop in partnership with Merchant Method, aimed at providing a video marketing toolkit for businesses in Pioneer Square. The presentation covered a wide range of topics which included, how to get started with video marketing, planning and creating content for your video’s and how to market and create engagement for them once they are published. Businesses and individuals can access a recording of the the presentation here. Merchant Method will continue to monitor this video for comments, so business owners are welcome to engage with the video and ask questions or provide any feedback. Merchant Method has also provided some additional training resources which can be dowloaded here to further assist businesses as they scale up their video marketing efforts.
- The Alliance for Pioneer Square, in collaboration with DEI Creative, has launched an online marketplace as a tool for member businesses to generate revenue through online sales during the Coronavirus pandemic (read DEI Creative’s press release here). The site is a collective for Pioneer Square businesses to sell items such as clothing and apparel to gift cards and merchandise from Pioneer Square restaurants and bars. The Support Local – Pioneer Square Marketplace is open and ready for customers. To participate in the Pioneer Square Marketplace, complete the following steps:
- Register your business here
- Submit up to 5 products for your business (as applicable)
- Complete delivery/take out information for your business (as applicable)
- Periodically update products and delivery/take out information (as applicable)
- Share the Support Local – Pioneer Square Marketplace on your business’ communications channels using the #SupportPSQ hashtag
- Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments or concerns regarding the Support Local – Pioneer Square Marketplace.
- A Brief Primer on Setting Up an Online Store and Delivery/Take Out
- The Alliance for Pioneer Square has created a brief primer on starting up the various e-commerce and delivery/takeout third party sites. Note, the payment system Square also offers an e-commerce store function.
- Mayor Jenny A. Durkan recently announced that the Seattle Department of Transportation is converting on-street parking spaces near restaurants to temporary loading zones to facilitate curbside meal pickup. Restaurants can request a loading zone near their establishment by emailing 684-Road@seattle.gov or calling (206) 684-ROAD – be sure to provide business address and contact information.
- The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has been working quickly to consider steps the agency can take to help licensees throughout this period of business restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. LCB is making some temporary modifications to allow businesses to act quickly, including returns of alcohol products (applies to alcohol distributors and alcohol licensees), curbside service and delivery (applies to alcohol licensees with “to-go” privileges), and delivery (applies to alcohol licensees with “delivery” privileges). See the LCB website for more information.
- As part of a #SupportSeattleSmallBiz campaign, The Office of the Mayor has released a new map for locating city businesses that offer takeout and delivery. If you are a business owner who wants to be added to this map, contact the City of Seattle at email@example.com.
Tourism-Related Business Resources
The Washington Tourism Alliance is doing everything possible to support our industry and we would like to offer at least a sliver of positivity in this trying time. They are proud to introduce the showWAlove.com website. A place where Washingtonians can purchase gift cards from YOU and show their support for tourism-related local businesses. If you would like your business to participate, go to showWAlove.com and first check to see if you already have a listing. The regional DMOs around the state have been helping us populate this website. If you have an online gift card/certificate, but you don’t have a listing but would like one, click here and make one. It only takes about two minutes and it’s completely FREE!
Artists and Arts Organizations Resources
- The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund is a rapid response grant program that will put cash grants directly into the hands of Washington State artists now.
- The Washington Nightlife & Music Association’s (WANMA) independent music venues have joined forces with the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), to collectively urge Congress to help protect the music industry. To lend your support contact your Senators and Representatives and let them know you support NIVA here and WANMA here. WANMA has also put together a quick and easy guide with key points to include in the call/email. Click here to email Senators, Representatives and all Washington State elected officials.
Human Services Organizations Resources
- Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness Blog
- This blog contains information about COVID-19 and resources for housing and homelessness service providers.
- The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the #WeGotThisWA: COVID-19 Lease Amendment Toolkit webinar, produced in partnership with Business Health Trust. The recording of the webinar can be found at this link. Communities Rise has a page of COVID-19 support here, including the Lease Amendment Toolkit and the small business and non-profit legal clinic.
- Grow with Google (GWG) hosted its small biz livestream on Wednesday, May 6th to share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small businesses. Here’s a recording of the livestream and virtual learning kit that includes social share graphics for small businesses, handouts and tips and a one-sheet covering the key points discussed during the livestream. GWG also rounded up (and answered!) the top questions that were asked on Twitter.