COVID -19 and Your Business

The City is keenly aware that our businesses continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Below are many resources and suggestions for mitigating the negative impacts on your business. Stanwood businesses are the backbone of this community and keep our local economy moving and we are here to assist you. We are monitoring the coming financial assistance for businesses and strongly urge businesses to review the SBA Loan and Grant Programs links below. Stay patient with the SBA sites as the system is overwhelmed but the SBA is working these technicalities out.

Please contact Jennifer Ferguson, Jennifer.ferguson@ci.stanwood.wa.us,
360-454-5209 with questions on any of the resources available.

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Requirement Updates Affecting Employers and Workers

September 23

Allowable activities expanded for "Personal Services" business category

"Personal Service Provider" guidance includes salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, tattoo artists, and other similar categories. A recent revision now permits some close-contact services (such as facials and beard trimmings) provided the worker wears an N95 respirator*.  An FDA-approved surgical mask combined with a face shield will suffice as long as the provider has N95 respirators on backorder, but are not immediately accessible.   *Refer to the N95 segment below for more information.

New guidance offered for miscellaneous venues

Governor Jay Inslee issued guidance for miscellaneous venues, including  convention/conference centers, hotel meeting spaces and other similar venues. The guidance allows business meetings and similar activities to occur away from business premises and with additional attendees, so long as all requirements are met.

N95 Respirators and Related Documentation

Employers must enact a respiratory protection program when workers require respirators

Fit testing is just one element of worker respiratory protection. Chapter 296-842 of the Washington Administrative Code details an employer’s obligations when workers encounter hazards that require respirator use.

Employer responsibilities include designation of an administrator, regulating voluntary respirator use, maintenance of a written program, record-keeping, medical evaluation, fit testing and training. Each is a legal requirement.

Workers must be medically cleared and fit-tested to wear N95 respirators

A respirator is a critical defense against respiratory hazards, including COVID-19. A respirator works by filtering air inhaled by its wearer. This filtration is only effective if the seal is complete – if contaminants get around the filter, the wearer is at risk.

Fit testing is an important and legally-required precaution for workers that require respirators. Fit testing ensures that the respirator properly seals against the wearer’s face, preventing contaminants from sneaking around the filter.

N95 is required when L&I standards indicate high risk of exposure

This L&I document is the legal standard for respiratory protection selection during the pandemic. For “high-risk” and “extremely high-risk” work, fit-tested and rated respiratory protection is required. See L&I's “Which mask for which task

The FDA has approved some KN95 models for use in high-risk work settings

KN95 masks are generally more available and affordable than N95 masks, at the moment. The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations for some models of KN95 masks, permitting their use in contexts where NIOSH-approved N95 respirators are required. Check the FDA EUA page to see if a KN95 model of interest has received EUA. If so, that model may be used “high-risk” or “extremely high-risk” work settings.

MISCELLANEOUS

Spanish small business webinars provide up-to-date info, answer live questions

A monthly Spanish language webinar series presents information specific to Washington small businesses. The series features brief presentations from state and federal partners and open-mic Q&A time. Topics include unemployment insurance, returning employees to work, PPP and EIDL loans, workplace safety, face covering requirements and other topics important to employers. The next webinar will be held on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. 

There may be small business relief funding you weren't aware of

Check with the Associate Development Organization to learn about local relief programs.

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PAST UPDATES


Updates to "Personal Services" rules require masking of both customer and service provider

Business activity requirements for "Personal Services" applies to cosmetologists, hairstylists, manicurists, tanning salons, makeup and tattoo artists, and other similar categories. New language clarifies that all customers of these businesses must wear a face covering unless directed by a medical professional who says otherwise. That means that certain services such as facials or beard trimmings are no longer permitted.

Recent updates for agricultural events, religious organizations, fitness centers and gatherings

Requirements for religious and faith-based organizations and indoor fitness and training have been updated recently. Requirements for agricultural events were recently announced to apply to livestock and horse exhibitions as well as companion animal shows. An FAQ document was published recently to clarify some details related to gatherings, food and alcohol service and events.

Modified Phases 1 and 2, or 10 persons in Phase 3

A gathering refers to a social setting in which non-household members convene, indoors or outside. Social gatherings are a leading vector of COVID-19; sustained close contact with non-household members is known to be a source of spread.

Business activity is treated differently than social activity

By contrast, business activity generally refers to commercial activity or organized events. Business activity is limited  by a percentage of capacity or a standard for social distancing on their own property. If not in their place of business, then they must abide by the above gathering limits for their respective county. Weddings and funerals, religious organizations and restaurants have specific regulations that take precedence over gathering limits.

Back-to-school stress may affect employees

As working parents confront the uncertainty of the school year, anxiety and stress may manifest at work. If your company offers schedule flexibility, remote work flexibility, or employee assistance programs, it may be helpful to review those benefits with employees now to allow working parents to plan ahead.

Worker Safety

Employees exempt from the mask requirement must provide documentation

Employees with a medical issue or disability complicating mask use must furnish an accommodation statement from their medical professional. Employers may not simply allow the employee to work without a mask with no other mitigations in place.

Basic face shields do not sufficiently meet the face covering requirement

Face shields protect the wearer from particles but do not sufficiently inhibit the travel of particles from the wearer. Only face shields with a cloth attachment to inhibit particles meet the workplace face covering requirement.

Federal relief still available for small businesses

A number of federal relief programs from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paycheck Protection Program accepting new applications through Aug. 8
The Paycheck Protection Program offers potentially forgivable loans to a recently expanded roster of small businesses and nonprofits to support workforce retention. Forgiveness is reduced if full-time headcount declines or if salaries and wages decrease. Refer to the program's website to review application materials and eligibility requirements.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans may cover common operational expenses
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are designed to provide economic relief to small businesses confronting a temporary loss in revenue. Borrowed EIDL funds may be used to cover a variety of operational and capital expenses made challenging by the pandemic. EIDL terms propose a modest 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and a 2.75% rate for nonprofits with a 30-year maturity and automatic one-year deferment period before monthly payments must begin. These flexible and low-interest loans are available to a variety of eligible small businesses.

SBA Express Bridge Loans may offer expedited loans to small businesses
The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses with an existing business relationship with an SBE Express Lender to quickly access up to $25,000. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

SBA Debt Relief programs may cover principal, interest, and fees of some federal loans
As part of SBA’s relief efforts, the agency will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to Sept. 27, 2020.

More information about SBA programs are available on the SBA website.

New business activity guidance issued by the Office of the Governor

Several business activity guidance documents have been updated to reflect changes in understanding of the spread of COVID-19. Live entertainment and bar service were recently discontinued in restaurants and bars. Some construction workers from out-of-state may be subject to quarantine or testing. Film production and agriculture are subject to amended rules related to face coverings, distancing and sanitation

SBA funding and programs remain active to support small businesses

While the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program concluded last weekend, several other federal small business relief programs remain active. Among them is the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to offer small businesses forgivable loans for use on payroll and some operational costs. The PPP application window was recently extended through Aug. 8, and over $100 billion in funding is still available in the program’s budget. Refer to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for information on active small business supports.

Federal CARES Act funding reaching Washington small businesses

The Washington State Department of Commerce has helped to allocate federal CARES Act funds to local governments statewide, and those funds are now beginning to reach small businesses in the form of grants and relief programs. The City of Snoqualmie has established a grant program to support small, locally-owned businesses. A relief program in Spokane County has been established for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The City of Pasco is making available relief grants of up to $30,000 for small businesses. Refer to your county economic development organization website for information on relief programs within your community.

Small business webinars review available relief and resources

This webinar series reviews information specific to Washington small businesses. A panel of state and federal partners is present to respond to live Q&A regarding unemployment insurance, returning employees to the workplace, relief funding, workplace safety measures and other topics important to employers. The next webinars will be held on July 16 at 1:30 p.m. and July 21 at 9:30 a.m., and Spanish-language webinars will be held on July 28 at 5:30 p.m. and July 30 at 8:30 a.m.

Leave is available to sick workers or those caring for a sick family member

Community spread of COVID-19 is increasing statewide. Businesses and workers may wish to prepare for the possibility of illness. Paid Family and Medical Leave is available to workers that require time off to care for themselves or a family member due to a qualifying event, such as a serious health condition (including COVID-19). Workers may use accrued paid sick leave if they are sick, if they are caring for a qualified family member who is sick, if their child’s day care or school is closed for COVID-19 reasons and they need to provide care, or if their workplace is closed by a public official in connection with COVID-19 and the employment relationship isn’t terminated through a layoff. Additionally, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide employees with additional paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. In cases of documented or probably workplace COVID-19 exposure, affected workers may be eligible for worker’s compensation.

Masking and COVID-19 notification requirements for businesses

As of July 7, businesses are required to demand that all customers and employees comply with the statewide face covering requirement. The statewide order requires that masks be worn inside any building or business open to the public, outdoor public areas when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, and other settings. No goods or services are to be furnished to customers not in compliance with statewide face covering requirements. Refer to the original order for a full list of requirements and exceptions for face coverings. Individuals with certain health or medical conditions are excepted and are not required to produce documentation of the condition to be considered exempt. Please be considerate of those unable to wear a mask, they should not be shamed or ridiculed.

Best practices to address unmasked customers detailed

The Office of the Governor has offered best practices for business owners in summary of recent face covering requirements. Anticipating exchanges between businesses and unmasked customers, the document offers some do’s (ask if a medical issue complicates mask use, arrange certain safety accommodations) and don’ts (ask for details or proof of disability or medical condition).  Please be considerate of those unable to wear a mask, they should not be shamed or ridiculed.

SHOP SAFE AND DISCOVER STANWOOD CAMANO Campaign 

Highlights the dedication local businesses have for our health and safety as we move forward in re-opening Stanwood Camano.  Find more information on our Business Resources page.

Safe Start Phased Reopening County-by-County 

The Governor, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, has established a data-driven approach to reopen Washington and modify physical distancing measures while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. Washington will move through the phased reopening county-by-county allowing for flexibility and local control to address COVID-19 activity geographically.  Read the Safe Start Phased Reopening County-by-County Plan here.

Rebound and Recovery Task Force Launches Online PPE Marketplace, Business Tool Kit

AWB Launches Website to Help Washington Get Back to Business.  The website, located at www.reboundandrecovery.org, features an online portal to connect Washington businesses with ‘Made in Washington’ manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), plus a toolkit for small businesses to help prepare their physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols with employees and customers.  

The Rebound and Recovery Task Force aims to get Washington businesses open safely and quickly. This week, the task force launched an online resource to connect businesses to tool kits with customizable guidance and materials and a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) marketplace to help them get ready to safely welcome back employees and customers.   Read the press release.

Snohomish County Commissioners, along with the Snohomish Health District, have voted and approved submission of the application for variance to move to the county to Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan.

This is a significant move for our local economy and getting people back to work in a safe manner. The next step will be for the state to approve the application.

PHASES
  1. Snohomish County Approves Business Relief Grants

 Snohomish County Small Business Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency (R3) Grant Program 

The application process for the R3 Grant Program is now open. Applicants can visit http://www.workforcesnohomish.org for details and application materials. It is anticipated that it will take most businesses less than 30 minutes to apply. It is also anticipated awards will made within five weeks of application. Grants in amounts up to $25,000 will be awarded to qualifying businesses. Businesses applying for grants under this program must:

  • Be licensed to do business in the State of Washington.
  • Be a business physically located in Snohomish County.
  • Have 20 or fewer employees (including the business owner/worker).
  • Be in operation for one or more years.
  • Certify at least a 25% reduction in revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Able to demonstrate that the business was a going concern before March 23, 2020.

COVID-19 Business Needs Assessment 

Snohomish County created an Advisory Group to identify and develop strategies to reopen our economy. EASC is asking our community to complete the 5-minute Business Needs Assessment to ensure your needs are heard. The Assessment asks businesses how they have been impacted by the economic shutdown, their plans for reopening, and the support they need to reopen successfully.

The primary focus of Snohomish County’s Office of Economic Recovery and Resiliency is to stabilize our local economy, plan for economic recovery, build resiliency for our local employers, and support our local workforce. This will be a multi-disciplinary effort focused on economic development, workforce training and support, and human services. The office will assist local businesses in recovery and workforce training and help organizations get our residents back to work while partnering with human service providers to support those most in need.

Financial Resources

  1. SMALL BUSINESS GUIDANCE AND LOAN RESOURCES
  2. Employees-Layoffs/Unemployment
  3. DEPT OF REVENUE-TAX RELIEF
  4. loans
  5. small business guidance
  6. toolkits and checklists
  7. insurance
  8. telecommuting resources
  9. health and business safety
  10. Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants
  11. Potential Financial Resources

On May 4th, 2020 Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-25.3 and outlined the “Safe Start” plan, a phased approach to re-open Washington’s economy.

Under the plan, businesses and activities will re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures & health standards in place. Businesses may also need to meet additional requirements developed specifically for their industry. View the COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers for industry specific requirements.

  1. List of Requirements Businesses Must Implement Before Reopening.
  2. Businesses Will Need to Plan for the New Normal
  3. Phased Approach to Reopening

The Governor’s Office Has Released a List of Requirements Businesses Must Implement Before Reopening.

Requirements for All Employers  

All phasesEmployers are required to:
• Maintain the six-foot physical distancing requirements for employees and patrons. Adopt other prevention measures such as barriers to block sneezes and coughs when physical distancing is not possible for a particular job task.
• Provide services while limiting close interactions with patrons.
• Provide adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for workers, vendors and patrons. Ensure employees have access to hand washing facilities so they can wash their hands frequently with soap and running water.
• Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of the business, particularly of high-touch surfaces.
Read the full list of requirements here.

  1. Business Resiliency Resources
  2. Creative Strategies to Boost Your Business
  3. Helpful Resources for accurate and up to date information:
  4. Supporting our Public Safety, First Responders and Healthcare Workers

Business Resiliency Resources

WSBDC Business Resiliency Guide
https://localsnoco.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Business_Resiliency_Guide_Final-1.pdf



DSClogos2019_bluehorizontal (1)PLACES

PLACES is the local directory for Stanwood and Camano Island businesses.  

  • Help customers find you
  • Use the backend forum to communicate with other businesses about local issues, or events you may want to plan
  • Stay in the know-the City of Stanwood will utilize the business discussion board to:
    ✔start our business roundtable discussions
    ✔communicate for getting our local economy going.

Creating your PLACES listing
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SEE IT IN ACTION!

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Travel 
· CDC Guidelines for travel health information

Legislation of note 
· NEW The latest update on the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) signed into law on 3/17/2020 - K & L Gates.
· Summary of latest Congressional act on COVID-19 response

On March 31st, the Governor was joined by Kris Johnson, President & CEO of the Association of Washington Business, and Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Outdoor Research, in asking manufacturers throughout the state to make safety and testing equipment needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

♦SURGICAL MASKS        ♦SWAB TESTS        ♦SALINE SOLUTION        ♦VIALS        ♦N95 MASKS        ♦GLOVES        ♦SURGICAL GOWNS        ♦FACE SHIELDS

Companies interested in helping in this effort can review the How You Can Help tab on the state’s coronavirus website then contact City Administrator Jennifer Ferguson for assistance getting connected with the state. Email: jennifer.ferguson@stanwoodwa.org | Phone: 360-454-5209.