To help local businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing orders, the City of Bellevue has taken a number of actions, including:
- Deferred first- and second-quarter local B&O tax payments for certain small businesses until October.
- Halted water service disconnections and waived late fees for non-payment. Business customers may be eligible for payment plans.
- Created temporary curbside food pick-up zones in certain areas of downtown Bellevue with street parking and nearby restaurants and cafes.
- Adapted our Eastside Arts Partnership and Special Projects arts programs to, in some situations, allow for early invoicing and payment.
- Increased funding for local nonprofits providing key services to the area's most vulnerable residents.
We continue to monitor the situation, and are developing additional resources and tools.
Most importantly, please do not forget to document the impacts of COVID-19 on your business or nonprofit as the situation is unfolding. It will assist with relief efforts by local, state and federal agencies. Please sign up for our weekly COVID-19 resources newsletter and reach out to us if you have questions about resources, or if we can offer more help.
Relief Grants for Bellevue Businesses and Nonprofits
Bellevue’s City Council made two authorizations of CARES Act funds to support small business relief grants: $185,000 in late August and additional funding on October 12. This program is providing a limited number of $5,000 grants to small, Bellevue businesses and nonprofit arts organizations that meet specific criteria. Applications are now closed, and successful applicants will be contacted by October 30.
Questions regarding this grant can be directed to City of Bellevue at email@example.com or (425) 452-4114.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bellevue’s nonprofit organizations have supported a wide range of businesses and arts and cultural organizations with valuable resources and tools. In order to assist these critical nonprofit partners that support and promote businesses and cultural organizations, and ensure their long-term sustainability, Bellevue City Council has authorized $100,000 in Federal CARES Act dollars to provide a limited number of relief grants.
Applications are now closed, and successful applicants will be contacted by November 6. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (425) 452-4114.
"Safe Start" Reopening
On May 4, Gov. Jay Inslee outlined a four-phase "Safe Start" reopening strategy, which is guiding the gradual lifting of the "Stay Home" order and the restart of business operations. On June 19, King County moved to Phase 2 of the state's Safe Start plan, which allows some additional activities. These include all activities allowed previously, plus:
- Restaurants offering indoor dining at 50% capacity
- In-store retail at 30% capacity
- Fitness studios outdoors with no more than 5 clients (both indoors and outdoors)
- Personal services (i.e. nail salons, barbers, etc.) at no more than 50% capacity
- Professional services at no more than 50% office capacity
What's Open Eastside offers a map-based guide to local restaurants and other businesses that have reopened.
The Department of Labor and Industries (LNI) requires businesses to require their customers and clients to wear face coverings or masks while on-site. LNI and the Department of Licensing may enforce penalties on businesses which refuse to require face coverings or masks.
King County has more information on allowable business operations and relevant requirements.
Curbside Pickup, Patio Dining and Park Space
As part of the gradual reopening, some businesses may be interested in adapting their operations to align public health and social distancing requirements with business needs. For example, restaurants may be more interested in patio dining, and fitness studios may be interested in accessing park space.
The City of Bellevue is committed to supporting businesses making these adaptations. We've developed guides for a variety of interventions to use public and private space for business:
- Retail curbside pickup (both in-street and parking lot)
- Patio dining and retail (both in-street and parking lot)
- Rental of park space
- Drive-in cultural events
Need more information? Give us a call at 425-452-4114 or email us at email@example.com and we will walk you through your options.
Marketing and Business Development
What's Open Eastside: As we work through the phases of the state's "Safe Start" plan, many businesses will be adapting their operations to serve their customers through curbside pickup, takeout and delivery, and/or reduced hours. Several Eastside cities have joined together to promote local businesses, restaurants and cafés, and nonprofits, which are open with adapted operations. Join the list to promote your business to tens of thousands of Eastside residents.
Curbside Pickup Zones: In order to assist local restaurants and cafés, Bellevue's Transportation Department has established temporary, free Curbside Pickup Zones at several locations downtown, which will remain in place for the duration of this crisis. To request a Curbside Pickup Zone, contact Transportation.
Startup 425 is offering online workshops this summer on topics like starting a business, refining a business plan, managing finances and selling products online. These workshops are held in partnership with Greater Seattle SCORE, and are suitable both for current business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
REACH King County provides SizeUp, an online market research and business intelligence tool, free to local business owners and operators. The service can assist you in comparing your business to competitors, identifying demographic and psychographic information, and selecting the best places to target your marketing and promotional efforts. Reach out to REACH King County to begin using the SizeUp tool.
Artists and Cultural Nonprofits
The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is providing CARES Act Relief Grants to nonprofit and fiscally-sponsored arts groups experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program provides funding of up to $10,000.
Resources and Surveys
- Artist Trust: financial assistance resources for artists, cultural and community organizations. Join Artist Trust's COVID-19 Response for Washington State Artists Facebook Group.
- Americans for the Arts: impact survey and resources
- Artwork Archive: financial assistance for artists affected by COVID-19
- COVID-19 Freelance Artists Resources: List
- Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Arts: resources for the performing arts
- Artist Resource List: Google doc from Le Weatherman Sekuler
- American Guild of Musical Artists: temporary financial assistance to members in need.
- Foundation for Contemporary Arts: Emergency Fund for eligible visual and performing artists. Average grant award totals about $1,600.
- Recording Academy MusiCares: short-term financial assistance for personal needs due to unforeseen circumstances.
- Sweet Relief: donor-directed assistance fund for short-term financial support for musicians and music industry workers
Grants and Loans
GoFundMe.org is providing $500 grants to businesses which raise $500 or more in matching contributions on its platform.
Seattle Foundation has established a COVID-19 Response Fund, which will initially assist nonprofit organizations that work with communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and its consequences. Please note that this fund will not initially assist nonprofits that have lost revenue, though this may be considered in the future.
Forgivable Loans and Federal Relief
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Though the application for new PPP loans has closed, businesses which received a loan should immediately start planning for the forgiveness process. OneRedmond has an on-demand webinar to walk you through the process.Contact our small business advisor if you need free, one-on-one assistance.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program: On June 15, the SBA reopened applications for its EIDL program from small businesses, nonprofits, and sole-proprietors in all industries. Contact our small business advisor if you need free, one-on-one assistance.
- This program is open to small businesses, sole-proprietorships, and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees.
- Loan applications must be made directly to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Loans may be made in amounts up to $150,000 at a rate of 2.75% for nonprofits and 3.75% for small businesses.
- The application deadline is December 31, although the program could close sooner if funds are exhausted.
Business Impact NW: Provides low-interest loans to community-based nonprofits and small businesses, with more flexible criteria than traditional financial institutions. Additionally, it has compiled an outstanding set of COVID-19 resources, including free, one-on-one business coaching.
Craft3: Provides low-interest loans to community-based nonprofits and small businesses, with more flexible criteria than traditional financial institutions. Additionally, it is allowing existing Craft3 clients to revise their loan agreements (i.e. due date extensions, temporary payment reductions, etc.).
Mercy Corps Northwest: Offering clients loan payment deferrals.
Utilities, Taxes, Leases and Legal Help
Bellevue's Utilities Department is not disconnecting water service for non-payment at this time. Additionally, it is temporarily waiving late fees for non-payment.
Puget Sound Energy is not disconnecting utility service for non-payment at this time. Additionally, it is temporarily waiving late fees for non-payment. It will work with customers on options like payment plans and bill extensions.
The City of Bellevue deferred Q1 and Q2 local business and occupation (B&O) tax payments for certain small businesses until October. This applied to businesses with gross receipts of less than $5 million annually. Q3 payments must be made on time. Find more information in our press release.
The State Department of Revenue is offering filing extensions and penalty waivers for state-level B&O taxes. Eligible businesses can get more information and apply.
The City does not offer legal advice. However, many leases have force majeure provisions, which offer limited protection in the event of unexpected circumstances. Businesses can proactively reach out to their commercial landlords if it appears that they will be unable to meet their lease obligations.
Communities Rise has established a Commercial Lease Amendment Toolkit, designed to assist small businesses and nonprofits as they negotiate with landlords for rent relief and extensions.
The King County Sheriff's Office has announced that until further notice, it will not enforce residential or commercial evictions. Evictions may, however, continue to be filed in the King County Superior Court.
Communities Rise is providing a virtual legal clinic to help small businesses and nonprofits navigate the issues they might experience as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers a free, 60-minute phone or video call consultation with a lawyer which can meet each specific business' needs.
Employment, Workforce and Mitigation
WorkSource has compiled a long list of businesses in essential industries that are currently hiring, including displaced workers. Jobs include opportunities in grocery, retail, fulfillment, healthcare and janitorial.
Unemployment and Insurance
Temporary rules expand unemployment benefits to cover more people, including many sole proprietors, contractors, artists, and gig workers.
The Employment Security Department also administers the state's paid family/medical leave program, and has established detailed guides for your situation. The state is waiving the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance. The order is retroactive for claims filed up to March 8.
We understand that some businesses can continue and are continuing to operate. We have resources.
The Office of Gov. Inslee has established a detailed list of financial, export, insurance and workforce assistance which may be available for businesses and nonprofits.
The Washington Small Business Development Center has developed a detailed Business Resiliency Toolkit to help businesses plan and adapt to disasters. Additionally, the center is running resiliency webinars through this crisis.
Public Health Resources for Businesses
- COVID-19 resources and information (Greater Seattle Partners)
- Planning for a Coronavirus Pandemic: A Guide for Businesses (Public Health - Seattle & King County)
- Business resources and checklist (Centers for Disease Control)
- Instructions for Employers on Mitigating an Outbreak (Washington Department of Health)
- Model employer policies and resources (Business Health Trust)