On April 22, Governor Jay Inslee presented a new plan for reopening Washington State for business. The plan includes continued social distancing and then a phase-in of various economic sectors. The Plan is built around three primary focus areas:
- Protect the Health and Safety of Washingtonians: Guided by data and science, we must continue to suppress the virus, protect our most vulnerable and treat those who are sick. We must ensure that COVID-19 infections and deaths are decreasing and that we have sufficient testing and contact identification in place before taking steps toward loosening restrictions.
- Facilitate a Safe Start and Transition to Economic Recovery: A healthy workforce is needed for a healthy economy. When it is safe, we will take measured steps to get people back to doing what they do best in a way that protects themselves and their communities’ health.
- Support All People and Communities: We will use an equity lens for recovery efforts to enhance people’s physical, emotional and financial well-being, with particular attention to those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including communities of color, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals with disabilities, as well as those experiencing unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity.
To learn more, please visit: https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Washington%27s%20Recovery%20Plan%20.pdf
Thank you to the City of Olympia ArCH Digest for alerting us to resources available for artists.
The Allied Arts Foundation has announced a new grant opportunity for writers. Eight awards between $1,000-$5,000 will be awarded to poets residing in Washington State. An online application is available at https://www.alliedarts-foundation.org/grants/.
Americans for the Arts Action Fund has created a resource table that provides comprehensive information on accessing CARES Act federal relief funds from the perspective of a nonprofit arts organization, a governmental arts agency, a commercial arts company, a self-employed individual artist, and as a taxpayer: https://www.artsactionfund.org/CARESActTable.
The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is accepting applications from non-profit and fiscally sponsored arts groups and organizations that are facing financial hardship due to economic impacts related to COVID-19. The funding is made available through the CARES Act, distributed to state and regional arts agencies by the National Endowment for the Arts. ArtsWA will manage and oversee the grant process for the state. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis between April 17 and May 31. Grants of up to $5,000 can be used for general operating support. No matching funds are required, although recipients must have a DUNS number: https://www.grants.gov/applicants/organization-registration/step-1-obtain-duns-number.html. To apply, go to https://www.arts.wa.gov/cares-act-relief-grants/. Decisions and notifications will be made within ten business days of receipt of the application.
The Association of Washington Businesses (AWB) is hosting an every-Monday Employer Resources Webinar. Topics include “managing a virtual workforce,” “taking your brick and mortar business online” and others. For more information and access to employer FAQ info: https://www.awb.org/1/?cid=741.
Nationwide, the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) issued over 1.6 million loans through April 16, totaling over $342 billion. Washington State businesses received just over 30,400 loans totaling nearly $7 billion. About three-quarters of loans were for $150,000 or less. As shown below, about half of all funding went to four major industries: Construction; Professional Services; Manufacturing; and Health Care. Accommodation and Food Services and Retail were the next highest recipients.
Although the original funding allocated for SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) small business loans has been depleted, a new round of funding may be coming soon. Our most recent reports suggest Congress could authorize another $310 billion in funding as early as the end of this week. Please check back for updates.
A new campaign, “Why I Go Downtown” has been launched by the Olympia Downtown Alliance (ODA) with funding from the City of Olympia. In addition to promoting downtown, the initiative includes a business directory to help people find establishments open for business whether online or via drive-thru storefront https://whyigodowntown.com/supportlocal/. All downtown businesses are eligible to participate and submit information, whether they are ODA members or not. Over 6,000 people have visited the site in the first three weeks of operation. The ODA will soon launch “Promising Notes,” in partnership with Olympia Artspace Alliance and Octapas, to paint murals on boarded storefronts and create short music videos featuring local musicians.
While many people continue to work from home or have secured temporary unemployment benefits, neither option may be available to certain individuals, especially independent contractors. If you or someone you know needs to work, the PacMtn Workforce Development Council has assembled a list of current in-demand jobs accessible at https://pacmtn.org/job-search/.
SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.
EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more about other relief options available for small business, visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus for new information.
For many businesses, now might be the best time to prepare for the next phase or level of operations. The Thurston Center for Business and Innovation offers a wider variety of business counseling, training, and support. For more information, see the flyer below:
Businesses interested in applying for federal aid may find this video tutorial helpful. It was produced by the Thurston Chamber of Commerce and PacMtn Workforce Development Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRe3hVZu27M&feature=youtu.be