Published August 18 2020
Many small businesses in Bellevue and around the region continue to suffer from the economic impacts of COVID-19. As they adjust their operations under the state’s Safe Start reopening plan, the city is extending additional relief to Bellevue’s small businesses in the form of a Small Business Relief Grant program.
The Bellevue City Council this week authorized the use of $185,000 in federal CARES Act funding for this program. The funds were allocated to Bellevue through the King County Relief Fund. The program will provide $5,000 grants to small, Bellevue-owned businesses and arts organizations to help overcome COVID-19 business disruptions.
Eligible businesses must employ 2 to 25 people, have annual revenue under $5 million, and they must have sustained at least a 20% year-over-year drop in revenues resulting from COVID-19, with expenses not previously satisfied by other funding sources. This funding can be used on typical business expenses, for personal protection equipment or for other health- and safety-related improvements.
“Bellevue’s small businesses are a foundational part of our local economy and the vitality of our city,” said Mayor Lynne Robinson. “This program gives an additional source of relief that will help these businesses recover and retool as needed to continue operating through the current challenges.”
The city opened the grant fund to applications on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Applications, eligibility criteria, covered expenses and program information are available at COVID-19 Business Resources. Applications close on Sept. 17. Due to the high demand for this funding and expected volume of applications, grant awards will be randomly selected through a lottery system, with priority given to businesses who have not received relief funding from other sources.
This grant program effort builds on previous work by the city to support small businesses throughout COVID-19, including:
- (re)STARTUP425, a collaborative effort providing free, one-on-one technical assistance to small businesses and nonprofits on the Eastside;
- Deferred business and operations tax filings and payments, and waived water service late fees and disconnections;
- What’s Open Eastside, an interactive map highlighting businesses and nonprofits that are operating, as well as special hours, pickup and delivery options, and online services; and
- Expansion of patio dining for restaurants on Main Street and elsewhere by allowing temporary expansion of sidewalk cafés into select on-street parking spaces.
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