E News: Help for Small Businesses & Workers Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

April 2nd, 2020|

Help for Small Businesses & Workers Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

Dear friends and neighbors,

We all recognize that the COVID-19 crisis presents a historic challenge with profound implications for all Washingtonians and our communities.

In addition to the heartbreaking pain of so many lives lost across our country, the devastation to our economy will be far-reaching. To help combat that damage, I wanted to share information below about resources available to support small businesses in our community.

One of the most important measures from last week’s federal $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is the Paycheck Protection Program. It helps non-profits and small businesses (including sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed persons) cover payroll, rent, mortgage and utility costs.

More details are available below, but I wanted to note that the program application window opens tomorrow, April 3, and that funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Millions are estimated to be eligible, so it’s important that Washingtonians apply as soon as possible to ensure that we receive our share of federal support before funds are gone.

If you’re a small business owner or a gig worker, please visit the Small Business Administration’s website, this Treasury Department fact-sheet and this FAQ to see if you’re eligible.

Please also review the list of additional supports below to see whether you qualify.

I’m deeply grateful at how we have come together under Gov. Inslee’s leadership to slow the spread of COVID-19. I’m also humbled by the efforts of our health care workers, first responders, grocery workers and delivery drivers, and everyone else putting themselves at risk on the frontlines.

This crisis will take a terrible toll, but we will pass through it and emerge stronger, in the same way we have weathered every past crisis – together as Washingtonians.

Please take care of yourselves and one another, and please stay safe.

Your partner in service,

* * *

Resource pages

Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

A $349 billion SBA-administered loan and loan forgiveness program intended to help organizations keep employees on payroll between now and the end of June 2020.

  • Payroll, rent, mortgage and utility costs may be covered for non-profits and small businesses (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed).
  • Loans up to $10 million (based on prior 8 weeks of average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount).
  • Payments on principal and interest are deferred for six months.
  • Loan forgiveness if the recipient keeps all employees on payroll for eight weeks.

Small Business Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Program and Loan Advance

The program provides targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and non-profits. The CARES Act allocated $10 billion to provide $10,000 advances to applicants.

Small Business Debt Relief Program

The CARES Act included $17 billion for six months of loan forgiveness for non-profits and small businesses that currently have SBA 504 or 7(a) loans, as well as forgiveness for any similar loans approved, closed or funded before Sept. 27, 2020.

Small Business Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program 

Allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 to bridge the gap while waiting for a decision and disbursement on a direct Economic Injury Disaster loan (above).

Taxes

  • Both the federal Internal Revenue Service and the Washington Department of Revenue are providing extensions on taxes and waivers of penalties.
  • King County has extended the first-half property tax deadline for individual residential and commercial taxpayers who pay themselves, rather than through their lender, to June 1.
  • The City of Seattle is also delaying B&O taxes.

Washington State Department of Commerce Programs

Commerce will shortly launch an Emergency Grant Program to help small businesses pay rent or cover other costs until other assistance kicks in. Up to $5 million will be available in awards of up to $10,000. When active, information will be at this website. Subject to change, grantees are expected to be those in business one year or more and having 1-10 employees.

Washington State Employment Security Department Programs

  • Reduced hours: SharedWork, an alternative to layoffs, allows employers to reduce hours and let their employees collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.
  • Temporary shutdowns and layoffs: Employers who temporarily shut down and put their employees on standby (up to 12 weeks) can get relief of some benefit charges.

Local Government & Private Sector Efforts