Update: Applications from King County businesses for the Working Washington Small Business Grant program are now closed, due to overwhelming demand. We will provide updates if this program reopens, or if new grant opportunities arise.
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.
What "Stay Home" Order Means for Businesses
- On March 23, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all non-essential businesses in Washington to close through May 4, to help stop the spread of COVID-19, through his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order.
- Restaurants may continue to offer takeout, delivery and drive-through service.
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other essential businesses may remain open.
- Non-essential businesses can only continue work performed remotely.
- Details about what constitutes an essential business are available from the state and our FAQ.
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 Food Pickup Zone, contact Transportation.
In support of our restaurants, the (re)STARTUP425 program offers a map of Eastside restaurants offering takeout and delivery.
Grants and Loans
Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants: Governor Inslee is offering a new grant program for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Up to $5 million will be awarded to small businesses statewide through a grant of up to $10,000 per business. Significantly more requests than awards will be available, so businesses are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. This program is currently closed to new applicants from King County.
Amazon has established a Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund, which will provide assistance for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or $7 million in annual revenue, as well as a physical presence near Amazon's buildings in South Lake Union or downtown Bellevue. Funds are expected to be disbursed in early April.
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.
Facebook has established a Small Business Grants Program to assist businesses in addressing the impacts of COVID-19. These grants will include both cash grants and ad credits.
Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund: Up to $5 million will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state Department of Commerce will coordinate an application process. Stay tuned for more details.
All in Seattle: Contributing millions to proven nonprofits that can deliver it to those most in need. All In Seattle
Economic Injury Disaster Loans: These loans, offered by the Small Business Administration, are low-interest loans for businesses that suffer substantial economic impacts as a result of COVID-19. The loans can assist small businesses in meeting financial obligations and operating expenses. Learn more and apply.
- Right now, businesses applying for an Economic Injury loan can receive a forgivable advance of up to $10,000, even if the underlying loan application is not approved. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees will generally be awarded less than the full award.
- This slide deck can guide you through the disaster loan program and includes step-by-step instructions on completing the application.
- The Washington SBDC is offering webinars and other online training opportunities for the SBA application process.
Paycheck Protection Program: The PPP offers eligible small businesses a very low-interest loan of up to $10 million (determined by payroll). Loan payments are deferred by six months, and if you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll and operating expenses.
- This program is open to small businesses, sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.
- Loan applications must be made to a lender participating in the program, which may include your existing banker or lender.
- The loan has a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1%.
- There are no prepayment fees, collateral requirements or personal guarantee requirements.
- Find more information on the sample application and on the Treasury Department's fact sheet.
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 Bills
- 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.
- Comcast Xfinity is not disconnecting internet service or assessing late fees at this time. Eligible customers can get more information and contact Comcast.
- CenturyLink is not disconnecting internet service or assessing late fees at this time. Eligible customers can get more information and contact CenturyLink.
- T-Mobile is not disconnecting small business customers due to inability to pay at this time. Additionally, it is temporarily waiving any late fees that small business customers incur due to the COVID-19 situation. Eligible customers can find more information from T-Mobile.
- The City of Bellevue will defer Q1 and Q2 local business and occupation (B&O) tax payments for certain small businesses until October. This applies to businesses with gross receipts of less than $5 million annually. Find more information in our press release.
- 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 federal Internal Revenue Service has announced an extension of the April 15 tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, regardless of the amount owed. The IRS can provide additional information.
- Many leases have force majeure provisions, which offer limited protection in the event of unexpected circumstances. Businesses might proactively reach out to their commercial landlords if it appears that they will be unable to meet their lease obligations.
- 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.
Artists and Cultural Nonprofits
- 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
- National Endowment for the Arts: detailed resource list, including for specific crafts/trades
- 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
- King County: unemployment and financial help for creatives
- Artist Resource List: Google doc from Le Weatherman Sekuler
- 4Culture: Cultural Relief Fund with $1 million to be distributed over the coming months. Thefirst round of funding will be available April 1 through May 15. Apply at any time within that time frame. Also, current 4Culture grantees may be able to invoice early.
- ArtsFund: relief fund enables arts organizations to retain core functions and staff to reopen when possible.
- Artist Trust: relief fund rapid response grants supporting critical needs of artists.
- Thunderworks: Artists Against Anxiety Contest, with two rounds, deadlines April 14 and May 12. $1,000 in awards.
- Amplifier: call for art concerning public health. $1,000 apiece to 30 artists, with five winning works announced each week, starting the first week of April.
- 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.
- New York Foundation for the Arts: Rauschenberg Emergency Grant, which provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 to artists who experience an unexpected medical emergency.
- Sweet Relief: donor-directed assistance fund for short-term financial support for musicians and music industry workers
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.
- Additionally, the Employment Security Department is currently (and quickly) hiring remote workers.
Unemployment and Insurance
Temporary rules expand unemployment benefits to cover more people, including many sole proprietors, contractors, artists, and gig workers. At present, these rules also provide an additional weekly COVID-19 impact payment of up to $600.
- The Employment Security Department 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.
- Washington Healthplanfinder, the state's health insurance exchange, has opened a special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are or become uninsured. Some may be eligible for Apple Health (Medicaid). Healthplanfinder's FAQ
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)