Economic Recovery Initiative

Information for Workers and Employers in Thurston County

The Thurston Regional Economic Recovery Task Force* is developing and coordinating a multi-faceted response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and its specific impacts to and throughout our broader Thurston County Community.

This is a difficult period for our community, and we want you to know, you’re not alone. Local partners are coming together in an effort to figure out how we can reduce impacts today and position ourselves for a quick and effective recovery in the months ahead.

We will endeavor to provide local businesses and impacted workers relevant information through this resource site and other means as events unfold. We’re working fast to bring you information as we learn about it, so please forgive any errors or omissions and be sure to share with us any resources or solutions you think could help others.

Together, we will make it through this.

* The Task Force is represented by a growing number of partners, including the City of Lacey, City of Olympia, City of Tumwater, City of Yelm, Experience Olympia & Beyond, Olympia Downtown Alliance, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, Port of Olympia, Thurston Chamber of Commerce, Thurston County, Thurston Economic Development Council and local Tribal Nations.


Hotline Hours: Monday-Friday,
9:30 am-3:30 pm

Washington State Pursuing Federal Lost Wages Assistance for Workers

Governor Inslee has announced that the Employment Security Department (ESD) will apply for the Lost Wages Assistance program through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) by Friday, Aug. 21. The Lost Wages Assistance program is a temporary emergency measure to provide additional unemployment benefits to eligible claimants

Upon approval, this will allow ESD to provide an additional $300 per week for three weeks to those who have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis and are receiving unemployment benefits.

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Local Business Resiliency Videos Now Posted at New “Thurston Stories” Site

Wondering how local enterprises are getting through this difficult time?  Take a look at some stories from around Thurston County at: Or visit the YouTube channel at:

Featured businesses include Gabbi’s Cards and Comics, the Port restaurant, Orca Books and more.

Many thanks to Experience Olympia and Beyond for organizing this effort and sharing these inspirations stories of support and resiliency.

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Thurston Strong Extends Support for Small Businesses and Childcare Providers

Over the past month, Thurston Strong partners have provided over $1.1 million in grant support to local childcare providers and small businesses. The majority of this funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars approved by Congress and allocated to individual States earlier this year. Major pass-through investors include Thurston County and the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater. These totals do not include prior grant funding provided through the City of Lacey or Working Washington Grant program offered by Washington State.

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City of Olympia Permit Operations Continue Apace

The City of Olympia recently converted Community Planning and Development permitting operations to a digital portal using a program called SmartGov. In addition to creating broad system efficiencies, the digital portal has ensured permitting assistance and review remain uninterrupted during the pandemic. Customers can still submit applications, pay fees, request inspections and review status online, while staff review and stamp approval virtually. Even before the pandemic, the City was processing about 87% of permits (more than 5,000 per year) via the web portal vs. in-office visits. Customers have expressed their support vis a vis a recent user survey showing a 95% approval rating.

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United Way-Community Foundation COVID-19 Fund Paying Dividends

Charitable giving by our community has helped the Community Foundation and United Way of Thurston County to make a real difference for local families and service organizations. Highlights include: Funding to support a quadrupling of Meals on Wheels deliveries to 10,000 per month; Doubling the number of food backpacks to kids through the Thurston County Food Bank …

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