The Business and Workers update is a weekly newsletter providing news and information to help businesses and workers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The information is compiled by the state Economic Resiliency Team (ERT), part of the Joint Information Center.
What you should know about…
The importance of testing
Vaccine may be in the spotlight right now, and while it’s a crucial tool to eventually help us overcome the pandemic, it’s not the only tool we should be using. We are still relying on things like wearing masks and getting tested to ensure our success in overcoming this pandemic, and we’ll need to keep doing so over the next few months.
Testing is a critical and essential part of the overall COVID-19 response. Identifying and isolating people who have COVID-19, and quarantining those exposed to the virus, are necessary to understanding, responding to, and stopping the spread of infection. Assuring equitable and widespread access to testing with rapid turnaround times for results remains a priority. For us to successfully stop the spread of the virus, it is critical for people to get tested when they have symptoms or when they have been exposed to someone suspected of having COVID-19.
Testing remains a priority. Please, encourage your family and friends to get tested if they’ve been exposed, or if they have symptoms. For more information about testing in Washington state see the state Department of Health’s (DOH) testing page, their updated statewide testing strategy and their testing location resources.
Governor Inslee announced Thursday that the Northwest Region and four other regions will move to Phase 2 beginning on Monday the 15th, allowing several more groups of businesses to open with 25 percent capacity, including restaurants for indoor dining. Businesses must still adhere to COVID-19 safety measures, such as wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet apart.
As a quick reminder: Here is what is allowed under Phase 2 guidelines:
Retail stores: 25% capacity
Personal services: indoor maximum 25% capacity
Eating/Drinking establishments: indoor dining 25% capacity, end alcohol service/delivery at 11 p.m. Outdoor/open-air dining available, maximum six per table, limit two households per table
For more details on who can do what in which phase, please click HERE.
On Monday, February 10, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation providing tax relief for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 5061 will also increase minimum unemployment benefits for workers and provide significant tax relief for businesses over the next five years, to support recovery from the economic impacts of COVID shutdowns. The legislation passed with strong bipartisan support in both chambers.
Kitsap County officials have greatly eased the eligibility requirements for the Kitsap CARES Small Business Grant and are now offering up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses based upon eligible COVID-19 impacts. Businesses who were previously funded at a lower amount may be eligible for increased funding from Kitsap County. Must meet eligibility requirements for either program and a reapplication is required.
Eligibility Information as of 9/21/20:
Up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses
COVID-19 related PPE retrofits & supplies now eligible for reimbursement.
Employee cap now up to 50 with no minimum. Owners may be considered employees.
Receipt of EIDL/EIDG and PPP do NOT disqualify businesses. Double-dipping on reimbursements for the same months is still prohibited.
Reimbursements may be for rent/lease and/or PPE paid March 1 through October 1, 2020.
Application Portal opens at 8am September 21st
Funds will be awarded on a first-come-first served basis to businesses meeting all eligibility and application requirements.
This final application period is open to ALL small businesses with a physical location in Kitsap County.
The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance is partnering with Kitsap County, the City of Bremerton, and the City of Port Orchard to distribute federal CARES funding to offer up to $5000 rental relief assistance to local small business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is currently tracking an unknown malicious cyber actor who is spoofing the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. These emails include a malicious link to the spoofed SBA website that the cyber actor is using for malicious re-directs and credential stealing.
CISA analysts observed an unknown malicious cyber actor sending a phishing email to various Federal Civilian Executive Branch and state, local, tribal, and territorial government recipients. The phishing email contains:
A subject line, SBA Application – Review and Proceed
A sender, marked as disastercustomerservice@sba[.]gov
Text in the email body urging the recipient to click on a hyperlink to address: hxxps://leanproconsulting[.]com.br/gov/covid19relief/sba.gov
The domain resolves to IP address: 162.214.104[.]246
Figure 1 is a screenshot of the webpage arrived at by clicking on the hyperlink.
Figure 1: Webpage arrived at via malicious hyperlink.
While you may be facing uncertainty, there is one thing you can be certain of: SCORE is here for you.
During these difficult times, everyone is talking about survival, uncertainty, and loss—loss of revenue, relationships, and resources. It’s normal and human to feel fear and uncertainty, to wonder about the future of your business.
At SCORE, we get it. And we’re also here to remind you that you are stronger than you think and more powerful than you know. You are a small business owner, the person who dared to ask what if? The leader who had the courage to take that first step to build a business and a future you believe in.
Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.