Effective Thursday April 15,all Washingtonians over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. See “How to get vaccinated” for appointment scheduling options in King County. Visit here for more information.
WSDA COVID-19 RELIEF AND RECOVERY GRANTS
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) have opened COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants for small businesses in four sectors: Shellfish Growers, Farmers Market Organizations, Agritourism, and Craft Beverage Producers. WSDA will provide nearly $15 million in small business assistance grants to help agriculture businesses and organizations in sectors that have been economically hurt due to marketplace disruptions created by the necessary public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards will be approximately $15,000. For more information and to apply, click here. Applications close April 26, 2021.
Washington Waives Liquor License Fees to Aid Businesses
On February 28, 2021, Governor Inslee signed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB 5272) into law. This law waives annual renewal fees for 12 months (April 1, 2021 to March 30, 2022) for the following liquor license types:
- distillers, distill/rectify, fruit/wine distillery, craft distillery, distillery/craft distillery tasting room, domestic wineries, domestic breweries, microbreweries, beer/wine restaurant, spirits/beer/wine restaurant, tavern, snack bar, nonprofit arts, motel, hotel, sports entertainment facility, public house, spirits/beer/wine nightclub, beer/wine theater, spirits/beer/wine theater, senior center and caterers
Additionally, licensees that temporarily closed between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, and did not pay a renewal fee during that time, will not have to pay an additional fee in order to become an active licensee again. Please contact Licensing Customer Service at the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) for questions about the above information: call (360) 664-1600 – Option 1 or email.
SBA Extends Deferment Period for all COVID-19 EIDL and Other Disaster Loans until 2022
The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.Find more information on the announcement 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)
- SBA is currently accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses, and private nonprofit organizations. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This is a 30 year loan at 3.75% interest for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits with no repayment penalty or fees. The loan amount is generally determined by 6 months of losses and may be utilized for capital and normal operating expenses. Visit the SBA website to apply and learn more.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury issued guidance in early January 2021 for the reconstituted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The new PPP has $284.5 billion available, including $35 billion for first-time loans and is available to businesses that have previously received a loan. The new round of PPP will remain open through March 31. Apply here. Borrowers are eligible for a second-draw PPP loan of up to $2 million. Second time borrowers must:
- have less than 300 employees,
- demonstrate a 25% or more loss in revenue from 2019 to 2020,
- have spent first PPP loan on eligible expenses
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- On Monday, January 11 2021, the Only in Seattle (OIS) team hosted a webinar with neighborhood business districts and partners to provide relevant and timely information for small businesses. This webinar focused on the reopening of the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Disaster Injury Loan (EIDL). Staff from the Seattle Office of Economic Development and the National Development Council provided an overview of the federal resources available and the latest updates to PPP and EIDL. View the Neighborhood Business District Webinar presentation here and slide deck here.
- 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.