Recent Updates

Preliminary Economy Reopening Guidance

While Governor Inslee has extended the general Shelter at Home Order, some industries are beginning to phase back into work and others will follow in the ensuing weeks and months. While official guidance and rules will be issued by the Governor’s office, now is a good time for businesses and customers to begin conceptualizing what a return to work and shopping might look like. Next week, we will be adding a new section to thurstongstrong.org called “Returning to Work.” It will include a variety of resources including general and industry-specific guidelines for re-opening and operating safely. Currently, the State is planning to phase-in business and activities as follows:

Washington's Phased Approach

CARES Act Round Two: New Funding Available Soon!

Thank you to the Thurston EDC for the following update on SBA loans…

Congress has passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act, which provides critical additional funding for workers and small businesses affected by coronavirus. This impacts the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

  • If you have already applied for the PPP,  you should not have to apply again.
  • If you have not applied for the PPP, check with your lender to see if they are SBA approved. If not, consider checking alternative lenders including PayPal, Intuit, Square and Kabbage.
  • If you have not applied for EIDL since 4/3 you will have to reapply.

For more information about this new funding: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm987


Governor Announces Washington State COVID-19 Recovery Plan

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Resources for Artists

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.

AWB Employer Resource Webinar Series

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.

How Washington State Faired in the First Round of SBA Funding

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.

NAICS Subsector Description

New Round of SBA Small Business Funding in the Works

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.

City of Olympia-Olympia Downtown Alliance Team Up to Help Local Businesses

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.

Job Search Portal Available for Those Seeking Work

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/.