Effective 12:01am on June 30, most industry sectors previously covered by the Healthy Washington or Safe Start reopening plans returned to their usual capacity and operations. Learn more below.
- Reach out to our Business Response Team to begin prepping materials for PPP forgiveness, an EIDL or FlexFund loan, or if you would like to discuss other financial assistance options.
- Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on relief resources.
Additionally, as of July 23, 2021, due to increasing case counts and transmission of the delta variant, King County Public Health recommends masking in indoor settings regardless of vaccination status.
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:
- 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 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.
Washington's Full Reopening
Effective 12:01am on June 30, all industry sectors previously covered by guidance in the Healthy Washington or Safe Start reopening plans may return to their usual capacity and operations, with limited exceptions for large indoor events (any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants in an indoor, enclosed space.)
Under the reopening guidance effective June 30, the following rules have changed:
- Vaccine verification or negative testing: Recommended, but not required for large indoor and outdoor events
- Capacity restrictions: No restrictions in restaurants, bars, stores, businesses, theatres, etc. (except large indoor events)
- Physical distancing: No requirements
- Facial coverings: Not required by vaccinated individuals, but individual businesses may require them
- Travelers: Follow CDC recommendations. Masks remain required on public transit and in airports and planes.
The statewide mask mandate has been modified to allow fully-vaccinated individuals to go without a mask in most settings, except public transportation and healthcare as required under state and federal law. Additionally, businesses are no longer required to require their customers to wear face coverings, although they may require face coverings if they wish.
However, as of July 23, 2021, due to increasing case counts and transmission of the delta variant, King County Public Health recommends masking in indoor settings regardless of vaccination status.
If you are unvaccinated, find a vaccine at the DOH's website.
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 which received a loan should immediately start planning for the forgiveness process. OneRedmond has a great on-demand webinar to walk you through the process.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program: The SBA has 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.
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)