To help local businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19, the city is providing guidance and assistance (including grants), as well as information about other government and nonprofit resources featured in the accordion tabs at the bottom of this page. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on relief resources.
Commercial Rental Relief Grants
The city is providing a limited number of $2,500 to $15,000 rental relief grants to small, Bellevue businesses and nonprofit arts organizations to cover back rent on the commercial properties they lease (details, español, 中文, 한국어, Pусский).
The City Council authorized $500,000 for this program, using federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. The program requires the cooperation of both the landlord and the tenant, and is available only to property owners with commercial tenants. Commercial owners of residential properties are not eligible. Applications close Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
This grant may be used solely as a payment against a small business's rental arrears, including utilities, other costs and fees related to the tenant’s occupancy of the rental property that the tenant is obligated to pay directly to the landlord. The grant will be paid to the grantee's landlord.
Business/Tenant Eligibility Requirements
- A small business or art specific (as determined by NAICS code) nonprofit organization
- In possession of a Bellevue business license obtained on or before March 1, 2020
- Employs 2 to 25 employees and has gross annual revenue under $5 million
- Has back rent or lease arrears resulting from COVID-19 economic impacts or related public health restrictions
- In good standing (has a current business license; city taxes and fees paid; current on all state and regulatory requirements; not facing pending litigation or legal action by a governmental agency, including Bellevue code enforcement; is not debarred, suspended or proposed for debarment by a federal department or agency)
- Business/tenant was not past due on rent prior to March 1, 2020
COVID-19 Economic Status
Most industry sectors have returned to their usual capacity. Face coverings or masks must be worn at all times while indoors or outdoors where social distancing may not be maintained.
Additionally, beginning Oct. 25, people age 12 and older will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test in order to enter certain indoor and outdoor events and establishments in King County. Learn more below.
Reach out to our Business Response Team to begin preparing materials for PPP forgiveness, an EIDL or FlexFund loan, or if you would like to discuss other financial assistance options.
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:
- Created temporary curbside food pick-up zones and on-street dining spaces in certain areas of downtown Bellevue
- Adapted our Eastside Arts Partnership and Special Projects arts programs to allow for early invoicing and payment.
- Awarded more than $600,000 in relief grants for Bellevue's small businesses and nonprofits.
We continue to monitor the situation, and are continually developing additional resources and tools. Most importantly, 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.
Under the current reopening guidance and rules, the following restrictions are in place:
- Capacity restrictions: No restrictions in restaurants, bars, stores, businesses, theatres, etc. (except large indoor events)
- Facial coverings: Required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals indoors and outdoors where social distancing may not be maintained.
- Vaccine verification: Required for certain events and venues. See below for details.
- Physical distancing: Recommended
- Travelers: Follow CDC recommendations. Masks remain required on public transit and in airports and planes.
As of August 23, 2021, due to the spread of the highly-contagious delta variant, face coverings or masks are required in all indoor public settings and outdoors where social distancing may not be maintained, regardless of vaccination. Businesses must enforce this masking rule under L&I guidance.
Beginning October 25, people ages 12 and older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter certain indoor and outdoor events and establishments in King County.
The following locations will be required to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test for entry:
- Restaurants and bars. Does not include outdoor dining, takeout, or places like grocery stores which aren't primarily used as indoor dining locations.
- Gyms and exercise facilities.
- Performance arts or live music venues, movie theaters, and indoor sporting events.
- Conferences and conventions.
- Outdoor events with 500 or more people. Such as professional and collegiate sports and entertainment events.
If you are unvaccinated, find a vaccine at the DOH's website.
Vaccines are required for all state employees, all education workers, and all healthcare workers across the State of Washington.
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
Grants and Loans
Forgivable Loans and Federal Relief
PPP Forgiveness: Businesses that received a loan should immediately start planning for the forgiveness process. OneRedmond offers an on-demand webinar to walk you through the process.
Washington FlexFund: Provides loans of up to $150,000 to small businesses and nonprofits with interest rates as low as 3%. Learn more by reaching out to our small business advisor or by visiting the website.
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.
Artists and Cultural Nonprofits
Funding programs for the arts are changing quickly. Please sign up for our weekly COVID-19 resources newsletter and visit the Bellevue Arts Program's Instagram page for the latest information about available relief funding.
Shuttered Venue Operator (SVO) Grant Program
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by the December 2020 federal relief package. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
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
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.
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)