These unusual and unprecedented times have left many of us reeling – there is no place we haven’t felt the impact of coronavirus. It is affecting how we live our daily lives, both in our person worlds and how we work.
As a small business owner, the impact of the virus itself as well as the necessary strategies to slow its spread have created ripple effects. Many of which will take a while to unwind from. For many businesses, both small & large, times are tough & the future uncertain. What we do know, is that small businesses are a critical part of the U.S. story, driving upwards of 50% of the US economic activity & creating two-thirds of net new jobs.
The importance of small businesses as vital contributors to a robust economy has not been lost on policy makers. As such, local, state, and federal governments are focused on implementing programs that help support small businesses and their employees thru these very rocky times.
While not comprehensive, and very likely to evolve over time, we have put together a starter list of some the resources small businesses and employees may be eligible to participate in. Our hope is that programs such as these will help many bridge this tough time & emerge intact, if not stronger, on the other side of this very challenging time.
It is important to check websites frequently, as updates are common as new rules & policies are enacted.
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- Business.WA.gov: COVID-19 Business Resources for Washington State. An excellent resource page with links to multiple resources, across a range of relevant topics.
- Governor Inslee’s office: This COVID-19 Resource List publishes a constantly evolving website that has numerous helpful links to various types of assistance programs, such as financial assistance, export assistance, employer and worker assistance, & insurance assistance.
- For those in Seattle, Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have implemented the following programs to support small businesses and workers feeling the burden of these preventative measures.
- Employment Security has programs designed to help individuals and employers during this time and are they working to increase access to unemployment benefits. They have adopted a series of emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses. The job search requirement to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits is now optional in order to increase access to unemployment benefits for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure will be retroactive to March 8th 2020, and will continue until further notice. Please see this link for the most up-to-date information and how to apply. General information on Washington state unemployment can be found at https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment
There is a lot of information in the general media as well; for instance, both these articles have some good high-level ideas & information; the Forbes article plans on updating their story regularly as new program details become available.
The take home is whether you are having financial challenges or concern on the business- or home-front, it is important to reach out to programs, lenders, and/or other service providers sooner, rather than later, as a lot of flexibility has entered the system & assistance is out there. You are not alone and we will work through this together.