Thurston Strong Partners Taking Steps to Help Workers and Employers

Over the last few months, Thurston Strong partners have been working to respond to and address challenges caused by COVID-19 and resulting stay-at-home order. While it is impossible to mitigate the unprecedented scale of impact our business and workers have experienced, we are doing what we can to make a dent based on data, your feedback, and available resources. The following is a partial list of response actions. Additional information on response and recovery efforts will be posted in here in the days and weeks ahead.

Thurston Economic Development Council

  • Business Hotline
    • 11,000 points of contact and counseling since March
    • Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant (650 applications)
    • City of Lacey Small Business Grant (320 applications)
  • SBA Grant for Women’s Business Center
    • Women’s Center: 198 clients, 49 referrals and support services
    • Partner with SPSCC, Lacey Makers’ Space no-cost training, Expand Let’s Talk Business Webinar
  • BEST (Business Enterprise Startup Training)
    • 18 students, hiring more coaches in order to expand capacity
  • ScaleUp Thurston
    • ScaleUp:  43 Thurston clients; 100 WA state (at capacity) clients
    • Career Bridge to help dislocated business owners retain businesses
  • PTAC: 130 hours of tech assistance, 5 events with 933 businesses attended
    • Promoted PPP program to 68 non-profit agencies in Thurston County

Thurston Chamber of Commerce

  • Tying Our Community Back Together campaign provides an opportunity to celebrate reopening
  • Business Essential’s – Weekly Webinar on conducting business during COVID
  • Spotlight videos highlighting reopening and successful shifts in business models
  • Provide Technical guidance and resource on reopening
  • Providing rehiring and staff onboarding resources for business reopening

Thurston VCB

  • Mitigate and Inform: Keep travelers updated; connect members to resources; liaise with industry and community; Fireside chats; takeout/delivery/gift card promotion; promote digital experiences
  • Plan for Recovery: Share with Task Force and state partners; Phased, responsible re-entry; get early travelers back
  • Restart: Maintain support of industry, government; build brand, civic pride; book future business

City of Olympia

  • Seed investments in Thurston Strong and United Way response initiatives
  • Providing staff support to the EDC’s business hotline
  • Proactively patrolling areas with closed businesses
  • Expanding cleaning operations, planning for social distancing Downtown
  • Launching Artists on Board program
  • Allowing utility and B+O tax payment deferrals
  • Streamlining the temporary use permitting process

City of Lacey

  • 110 grants issued through Lacey small business stabilization fund
  • Funding for United Way COVID-19 Fund
  • Utility billing fee suspension, no late fees, or disconnections
  • B&O tax deferral until July 31
  • Temporary sign ordinance revision allowing commercial banners and sandwich boards
  • Continuation of inspections for essential construction projects
  • Funding for Regional Economic Recovery Task Force
  • Open restaurant inventory and map with locations, hours, service options
  • Open business listing for medical, food, shelter, and transportation

City of Tumwater

  • Suspended water shutoffs and late payment penalties
  • Extended B&O filing deadline to July 31, 2020
  • Enacted temporary lift of plastic bag ban
  • $150k emergency funds to human services + economic recovery

Thurston County

  • Operate and continually update Coronavirus website with health-related info
  • Extension of development permit applications
  • Inspection and permit processes continued through e-inspections
  • Liaisons serve as contacts for businesses with questions about reopening
  • Commission advocacy for State financial support
  • Incorporation of Thurston Strong goals into priority objectives
  • Commissioners Vote for Variance to move to Phase 2 of the Safe Start Plan