COVID-19 Financial Resources for Workers and Businesses
Updated: July 10, 2020
Many changes are happening in response to the COVID-19 virus and federal, state and local governments are working to help. The City of Tukwila has compiled a range of information developed by various agencies and governments that may be helpful to our businesses, workers, and residents. Check back on this page frequently for updates as new information becomes available.
De-escalating tips for face covering conversations
The statewide face covering mandate presents concerns for retailers as incidents have occurred where asking customers to follow safety guidelines has resulted in agitated customers and willful non-compliance. Please read this article provided by the National Retail Federation on de-escalating tips for face covering conversations.
Building Occupancy Estimate
If you are following the State’s business reopening guidance you probably saw some limitations on the number of customers in retail, restaurants, personal services and other business sectors based on a percentage of “maximum building occupancy”. If you don’t know that calculation for your business, the City has prepared this handout for you to make your own estimate. It’s not a perfect calculation in all situations but it should work for this purpose.
Saving Local Promotion
Do you have a deal or promotion you want to offer during the Stay Home Order? The City of Tukwila has partnered with local chambers of commerce to launch a new marketing campaign called Saving Local to promote local consumer facing businesses throughout King County. This is an excellent opportunity for restaurants, retailers, hotels, and entertainment venues that are currently closed or operating at reduced levels to sell gift cards or certificates today for future products and services. It’s free to participate but you need to have a deal to promote that can be sold through an online transaction, such as a discount on a gift card. The City will advertise the campaign via social media and through our partnering chambers of commerce. For more information and to sign up visit: www.savinglocalkc.com
Business Assistance Webinars
The Washington State Small Business Development Centers is offering free webinars related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as small business loans and the new funding available from the Federal government’s recently passed CARES Act. You can find the webinars here.
Our local Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce is hosting webinars focused on our immediate region’s needs. You can find them listed here. If there’s a topic you’d like to have included as a webinar, please add it to the comment box below.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (FORGIVABLE LOAN)
The recently passed Federal CARES Act established a $350B fund to help small businesses (including nonprofits) keep workers on the payroll. You can receive up to 2.5 times your monthly payroll averaged over the past 12 months, and the loan is fully forgivable (you don’t have to pay it back) if you keep your staff on payroll and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage and utilities. Information is available here. Apply through an approved lender.
Good news! On April 21, the US Senate approved an additional $321 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, including $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for mid-sized banks and credit unions. We expect this funding to be approved by the US House of Representatives and President within a few days. We encourage you to contact your lender now to start your application so it is ready when the funding is available.
ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS AND ADVANCE (EIDL)
The initial CARES Act included $10 billion for disaster loans for small businesses and non-profits. This includes a grant (called an “advance”) of up to $10,000. The Small Business Administration administers the program and intends to issue the advances within 3 days of approving the application. Businesses need to submit the loan application to receive the grant. More information and the application is available here.
Good news! On April 21, the US Senate approved an additional $60 billion in funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance program, including $50 billion for loans and $10 billion for grants. We expect this funding to be approved by the US House of Representatives and President within a few days. We encourage you to contact your lender now to start your application so it is ready when the funding is available.
The Great Tukwila Carry-Out
The City has launched “The Great Tukwila Carry Out” campaign to promote restaurants offering carryout and/or delivery services. The list of restaurants offering service can be found here. Show your support for Tukwila restaurants by posting a photo on social media, using the hashtag #GreatTukwilaCarryOut. Please let us know if we missed a restaurant by putting a comment in the box on the Great Tukwila Carry-Out page.
The IRS has extended the deadlines to file and pay taxes until July 15. Information on that and other tax changes related to the corona virus for individuals and businesses at: irs-gov/coronavirus
Small Business Lenders
Business Impact NW is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to serving under-banked entrepreneurs. They provide coaching, classes and access to capital to community small businesses, with an emphasis on working with traditionally underserved populations – entrepreneurial low/moderate income earners, women, people of color, veterans, immigrants or members of the LGBTQ community. They offer small business loans and many other resources related to COVID-19. More info here.
WaFD Bank is offering 5-year business lines of credit with 90 days interest free to businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 virus. Businesses who have seen a 10% or greater drop in revenues can apply to receive up to $200,000 on business lines of credit. More info at WaFDbank.com.
FACEBOOK SMALL GRANTS PROGRAM
Facebook recently launched a grants program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, businesses need to have between 2 and 50 employees, be in business for at least one year, and be in or near a location in which Facebook operates. Grants will be up to $4,000 per business, of which $1,500 will be Facebook ad credits. Approximately $8.5 million will be available to businesses in King County. More information is available at: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
Small Business Development Centers
The Washington State Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) offers information and free webinars on resources for small businesses such as assistance applying for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, responding to risks from the COVID-19 virus, and business resiliency. More info at wsbdc.org.
GOVERNORS ORDER TO CLOSE NON–ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
Under an order by the Governor, businesses providing non-essential services must close from March 25th through May 4th except for performing basic operations. On April 21st the Governor said we should expect most restrictions will remain in place after May 4th. In order to lift those restrictions, the State is working on three main issue areas: public health, guidelines for a safe return to work, and social services. In order to control the spread of the virus when businesses are allowed to reopen, we need to be able to test widely, isolate quickly, identify contacts, and quarantine contacts. Currently, the state is hiring 1,500 workers by the second week of May to perform contact tracing and the Governor has asked the Federal Government for more testing supplies.
Guidance on essential services is available here.
Businesses not complying with the Governor’s Order can be reported here.
Business Taxes and Fees
- The Washington State Department of Revenue can provide extensions on taxes or waive penalties.
We recommend that you carefully document the impacts to your business, including financial losses, canceled events, etc. This documentation could be required for any insurance claims or potential future relief programs from government agencies.
Anyone who has temporarily or permanently lost their job or are working fewer hours due to coronavirus or has had to take time off to self-quarantine or care for a sick relative (and does not get paid sick time from work) should apply for UNEMPLOYMENT benefits. Employees no longer need to wait one week before receiving benefits and can also receive benefits if they are temporarily laid off (Standby) or are working reduced hours (Partial Employment or Shared Work). Info on that here.
Free Child Care for Essential Workers
King County and the City of Seattle have coordinated free emergency child care for essential workers under Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy guidelines. This service is available for any employee defined as an essential worker under Governor Inslee’s March 23 proclamation and includes medical professionals and support staff, corrections officers, transit workers, grocery store employees, and others.
If you are an essential worker who lives or works in King County outside the City of Seattle and you are interested in accessing the free emergency child care slots, please call Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center at 1-800-446-1114 and complete an intake with Family Center staff. After intake, a resources specialist will work to match you with an eligible child care provider that meets your family’s needs.
Anyone whose job has brought them into direct contact with someone with coronavirus (for instance, a first responder or a health care worker) and has become ill or is required to quarantine can file for WORKERS’ COMP. File for that here. If you or a friend or family member are out of work, Washington State’s Employment Security Department can answer your questions about unemployment and workers’ compensation.
Financial Resources for Consumers
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for Washington consumers impacted by the coronavirus. We will add to this list as more resources become available.
On March 18, 2020 Governor Inslee announced a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 days if the eviction is based solely on non-payment of rent.
ASSISTANCE FOR HOMEOWNERS
If you are a homeowner experiencing financial hardship directly or indirectly related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, contact your loan servicer (the company listed on your mortgage statement) right away to discuss your options. Freddie Mac has directed its loan servicers to provide mortgage relief options which are described at this link. Fannie Mae has directed its loan services to provide mortgage relief options described at this link.
If you don’t have enough money to pay, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Help includes:
- Washington Homeownership Hotline (877-894-HOME)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggestions
- Rental assistance & counseling (800-569-4287)
- List of Housing Counseling Agencies
Student Loans Deferment
If you need help with your student loans, you may be able to temporarily suspend your payments by applying for a deferment or forbearance from the US Department of Education.
If you need help paying your utility bills, contact your service provider immediately. They may be able to offer financial assistance. In addition, the following service providers are taking the following steps:
- The City of Tukwila has suspended water shut offs for non-payment.
- Puget Sound Energy will not disconnect customers, will waive late fees, and offers payments plans.
- For City Light and Seattle Public Utility customers in the City of Tukwila. Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will not shut off service during the emergency. They also offer deferred payment plans and discount programs.
- The Utilities and Transportation Commission offers energy assistance programs.
- The Federal government also has assistance programs to help with telephone and heating bills.
- Comcast is offering free WiFi hot spots, unlimited data, and no disconnects or late fees.
Puget Sound Energy bill assistance for residential customers
Puget Sound Energy will make funds available to help customers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes customers who recently became unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work. This program allows customers to receive a one-time credit up to $1,000. The amount received is determined by your average monthly usage from March 2019 to August 2019.
If you’re looking for help feeding yourself or your family, visit the Food Lifeline website to find a partner food bank, food pantry, or hot meal program in your neighborhood. This food is free and available to you, even if you don’t qualify for SNAP or EBT.
Family Emergency Assistance Program
Washington State offers cash assistance to families with one-time financial hardships through programs under the Department of Social and Health Services. The Family Emergency Assistance Program is being expanded to include families without children.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner – COVID-19 Resources has information for consumers related to insurance and the COVID virus.
2020 US CENSUS
We know this is a stressful time for all businesses but we encourage you to spread the word to your employees, family, and friends about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census. More info at: www.2020Census.gov. The population information in the Census makes a huge difference in resources available to our local business community. Census data informs decisions such as planning and funding for roads and transit, healthcare facilities, schools, and the list goes on. For more examples, visit: https://2020census.gov/en/community-impact.html
Additional Resources and Information
- The State of Washington has set up www.Coronavirus.WA.Gov as a portal for information for businesses, workers, families, and individuals. It provides a lot of very useful information.
- COVID-19 resource list for impacted Washington businesses and workers Information from the Governor’s office.
- Protect Yourself Financially from the Coronavirus Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Job Interrupted —A To-Do List for Tough Times Information from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
- Financial Peace of Mind in the Age of Coronavirus Information from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
- Avoiding Coronavirus Scams Information from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Downloadable signs to print and post for restaurants, grocery stores, and apartment buildings are available here.
- King County Health Department provides an excellent resource of information related to the COVID pandemic in our region.
The City of Tukwila also wants to hear directly from you on how you or your business is being impacted by Coronavirus. Fill out the form below to provide feedback directly to economic development staff. This will help the City as we work with regional, State and Federal leaders in helping to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.