Update: 5/27/2020 - 9:00 AM
The City received word the morning of May 27th that Governor Inslee/Secretary Wiseman approved Walla Walla County to move into Phase II of the SafeStart Plan. Phase II allows the following:
- All outdoor recreation involving fewer than five people outside of your household.
- Gatherings of no more than five people outside of your household.
- Limit non-essential travel within proximity of your home.
- Remaining manufacturing
- New construction
- In-home/domestic services
- Retail (in-store purchases allowed with restrictions)
- Real estate
- Professional services/office based businesses
- Hail and nail salons/Barbers
- Restaurants <50% capacity table size no larger than five.
Please note that all businesses must follow the State Department of Health Phase II Business Guidance for your respective industry. Please contact the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health with any questions surrounding opening of businesses in Phase II.
We are acutely aware of the impacts to local businesses and non-profits from COVID-19. In collaboration with partners around the region and at the federal level we are exploring every avenue possible to bring support to our businesses. Most importantly, it is critical to document business and nonprofit impacts as the situation is unfolding, both for insurance purposes and for potential future relief efforts by state and federal agencies.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions about resources, or if we can in any way be of assistance.
The Governor's Office is releasing Safe Start Guidance for Phase 1 and Phase 2 for respective businesses. The documentation is located here. As of the morning of May 27th, 2020 Walla Walla County is in Phase II of the SafeStart Plan.
New: Walla Walla Small Business Relief Grant & Loan Fund Businesses throughout Walla Walla County Can Apply. (New: 5-8-2020).
Table of Contents
- Business Operational Guidance (New - 5/20/2020)
- Governors COVID-19 Recovery Plan
- Phase 1 Construction Sector Economic Restart
- Three Things College Place Businesses Can Do Right Now
- Financial Assistance
1. Protect People
Governor Inslee has asked all businesses to ensure adequate cleaning of stores, and to designate an employee or officer to implement a social distancing plan for their business.
The ICSC recommends upgraded cleaning and hygiene practices. Key components of these practices include the disinfecting of areas susceptible to the spread of viral germs, including children's play areas, public restrooms, door handles, handrails, tables, etc., as well as scheduled daily cleaning of remaining spaces.
Businesses should install and maintain dispensers for alcohol-based hand sanitizer in locations where the spread of germs is likely, and where normal soap and water hand washing stations are unavailable.
It is important that businesses establish and maintain open lines of communication with local health departments, and continue to follow local health directives.
Educate people about COVID-19 precautions and recommendations by displaying CDC public service announcements at entrances and throughout the property. Property owners should distribute these communications to tenants.
Consider establishing work cohorts, teams that work the same hours together, to enable resiliency.
Encourage employees to stay home when they are sick.
Provide employees with the appropriate resources to help protect themselves and their families.
Washington Employment Security Division
March 19 WA Retail Services Webinar
2. Adjust and Communicate
In order to maintain sales, businesses should consider updating product and service options to accommodate online ordering, take-out, and delivery.
Provide current information for consumers by maintaining Google pages, social media accounts, and websites to reflect accurate information about product and service availability.
3. Access Local Resources
Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce Free Weekly Business Resource Town Hall Series
The Small Business Administration has announced $7 billion in disaster loan assistance, which offers low-interest loans to assist small businesses. Whitman County businesses may apply for up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other obligations.
The following local contacts are glad to assist with SBA loan applications:
Certified Business Advisor
Ph: (509)-525-0850 extension 103, Em: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Tarbet, Director
Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce
Ph: (509)-525-0850, Em: email@example.com
Baker Boyer Bank Resources
Banner Bank Resources
WaFd bank is offering a Coronavirus Business Line of Credit, a five-year line of credit with 90 days interest-free, for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Be sure to also check out Governor Inslee's Resource List for Businesses & Workers.
Federal Stimulus: CARES Act
- Paycheck Protection Program: Forgivable loans of 250% of monthly average payroll to small businesses to pay employees and keep them on the payroll. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable. Learn more on the Small Business Administration's page.
- Economic Injury Disaster Grants: Grants of $10,000 through the current economic injury disaster loan program. To access these grant funds, first apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and then request the advance, which does not need to be repaid under any circumstance. Learn more and apply.
Grant Based Assistance
- Walla Walla Small Business Relief Fund: Relief fund that offers grants and low-interest loans to businesses across Walla Walla County (New: 5-8-2020)
- Blue Mountain Community Foundation has established a COVID-19 Response Fund, which will initially assist Walla Walla Valley organizations which work with communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and its consequences.
- Facebook has established a Small Business Grants Program to assist businesses in addressing the impacts of COVID-19. These grants will include both cash grants and ad credits.
- Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund: Up to $5 million will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state Department of Commerce will coordinate an application process. The application is now available.
Short- and Long-Term Loan Options
- U.S. Small Business Administration is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to businesses that suffer substantial economic impact as a result of COVID-19. Generally, these low-interest loans provide working capital to assist small businesses in meeting financial obligations and operating expenses. Learn more and apply.
- Business Impact NW provides low-interest loans to community-based nonprofits and small businesses, with more flexible criteria than traditional financial institutions. Additionally, it has compiled an outstanding set of COVID-19 resources.
- Craft3 provides low-interest loans to community-based nonprofits and small businesses, with more flexible criteria than traditional financial institutions. Additionally, it is allowing existing Craft3 clients to revise their loan agreements (i.e. due date extensions, temporary payment reductions, etc.).
City of College Place Utilities: (Water, Wastewater, Stormwater)
- While bills will still be issued, any customer that is directly impacted by COVID-19 (either business closed by Governor's Order, person under quarantine, etc) just need to call the City Finance Department 509-529-1200 / firstname.lastname@example.org and let staff know the situation with appropriate documentation. During this crisis period service will not be disconnected and late fees will not be assessed to those directly impacted by COVID-19.
- Payment arrangements can be made based on needs for both individual and business customers.
- More information: City of College Place: COVID-Response.
- Pacific Power will not disconnect service during this crisis period.
- Pacific Power will work with customers on options such as payment plans and choosing a new bill due date.
- More information: PSE COVID-19 Response
- Charter Spectrum and Centurylink is not disconnecting internet service or assessing late fees if you contact them and let them know that you can't pay the bill during this period.
- Charter can be reached at 1-855-707-7328. Centurylink can be reached here.
- Walla Walla County Treasurer Gordon Heimbigner is working on payment plan options for those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, taking into consideration both the taxpayers and taxing districts, and those options will be available next week on the county's website.
- More information: Walla Walla County Treasurer Website.
Washington State B&O taxes
- The State Department of Revenue is asking businesses to still file their returns if they are able to do so. Upon request, the Department will provide extensions for paying tax returns (even if the request is after the due date).
- More information: State Department of Revenue COVID-19 Relief Information
- The federal Internal Revenue Service has announced an extension of the April 15 tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, regardless of the amount owed.
- More information: Internal Revenue Service announcement
Unemployment Insurance and Support Services
- If you have reduced staffing due to coronavirus or if your employees have taken unpaid time off to self-quarantine or care for a sick relative, the impacted individuals should apply for UNEMPLOYMENT insurance. Visit esd.wa.gov/unemployment for more information.
- The state is waiving the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance. The order is retroactive for claims filed up to March 8.
- Support services are available to anyone in your employees’ households who are out of work through Washington State's Employment Security Department.
- Any employee whose job has brought them into direct contact with someone with coronavirus (for instance, a first responder or a health care worker) and has become ill or are required to quarantine can file for WORKERS’ COMP. Your eligible employees can file at lni.wa.gov.
- Washington Healthplanfinder, the state's health insurance exchange, has opened a special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are or become uninsured. Some may be eligible for Apple Health (Medicaid). Check out the Healthplanfinder's FAQ for more information.