Restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreation facilities are temporarily shut down statewide.

It’s never been easy to be a small business owner or worker, but in Seattle, it just got even tougher. Social distancing measures have had dire consequences for many Seattle small businesses. Here are some resources to help ease the burden on their owners and the broader workforce. We will keep this updated; email [email protected] with your suggestions.

For Small Business Owners

  • Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants of up to $10,000. A limited number of businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees can apply for this assistance if they were negatively affected by COVID-19. Governor Jay Inslee's Strategic Reserve Fund backs the program, which is administered by the state's Department of Commerce. The application process is laid out here; the $5 million set aside for the grants will go fast, so get your app in ASAP.
  • Seattle Office of Economic Development grants of up to $10,000. Drawing from a $1.5 million addition to the city's Small Business Stabilization Fund, these grants are available to small business owners who make 80 percent or less of the area's median income; have a physical location and five or fewer employees; and have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19. Financials must be shared as part of the process. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. (Update: It sounds like the mayor will add another $1 million to the fund due to the high number of applications.)
  • Information about the city's business and occupation tax deadline extension. The city's Department of Finance and Administrative Services extended the city's B&O filing deadline for businesses who reported $5 million or less in revenue in 2019 and pay their B&O tax on a quarterly basis. The first and second quarters of 2020 will tentatively be due on or before October 31. The Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) is also working with affected businesses who need tax filing extensions, and it may also waive late payments in certain situations. Contact the DOR at 360-705-6705.

For Workers

  • Information on Seattle's temporary moratorium on residential evictions. On March 14, Durkan announced a 30-day ban on residential evictions related to non-payment or partial payment of rent. On March 17, the city council extended it to a 60-day ban, with the only exceptions for tenant actions that constitute "an an imminent threat to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, or the tenant’s or landlord’s household members." "Pay or vacate" notices and the initiation of eviction actions in court are also banned during that period, as are late fees.
  • Free legal advice. A local Seattle employment law firm, HKM, is offering a legal advice hotline free of charge to employees in Seattle with questions regarding the novel coronavirus and their work. Anyone can call 206-889-6358 or email [email protected] to get answers, which will be posted on the company's site. The firm will also hold a free online roundtable to discuss some of these issues on March 25th at 3pm.
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