Navigating business operations during COVID-19 can be a challenge, but there are several resources to assist you.
Washington State’s response to COVID-19 can be found at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/. It contains the latest news as well as guidance and links to other resources for handling the impact of COVID-19 on your business.
The governor’s office has a page dedicated to the coronavirus resources as well as an ongoing news section outlining the governor’s ongoing restrictions and emergency actions. You’ve probably heard that Gov. Jay Inslee has implemented a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order that physically closes all but essential businesses. Essential businesses include restaurants (take out only), medical facilities, law firms and grocery stores. You can find a full list of essential businesses at https://www.coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business. You can submit an online form for clarification or to request inclusion. The order is currently in effect through at least May 31, 2020, but it may be extended.
To assist with the financial impact from the Stay Home order, the U.S. Small Business Administration has opened eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. More information about the loan can be found here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
Employers may also want to review their legal responsibilities to your employees during this time. The Families First Coronovirus Response Act was signed into law last month and provides additional benefits to employees. Specifically, if an employee is under quarantine or is diagnosed with COVID-19, they are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Employers will be entitled to a 100% refundable tax credit for the added cost of providing this paid leave. The U.S. Department of Labor has posted FAQs about the new legislation and will be issuing rules regarding the same (which hopefully will be consistent
with their FAQs): https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions. The Employment Security Department (ESD) and Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) have been publishing some helpful information including a several fliers outlining the benefits that your employees are entitled to during the COVID epidemic:
The details of the loan/grant programs created by these new laws are evolving, so the information contained in this post may change over time and become outdated.