COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

City of Spokane Valley COVID Resource Guide

New 7.22.20! The City of Spokane Valley is developing programs to distribute COVID-19 funding. Learn More

New 7.23.20! Spokane County has allocated $10 million of CARES Act dollars to fund a grant program to support small and non-profit businesses with 20 and fewer employees. The application process will be coordinated by Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI). Applications can be submitted through Aug. 14.

Washington State COVID-19 website

Access Washington State’s central COVID-19 website with resources, links and updates for businesses, workers and citizens.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide mandatory face covering order effective June 26 and an updated facial covering order, 20-03.1 on July 24. Businesses may not serve any customer not in compliance with face covering requirements.

Spokane County received approval on May 22 to move to Phase II utilizing specific business and safety guidelines; the county remains in Phase II.

Guidance for reopening businesses

Gov. Inslee released a 4-phase plan for reopening services on May 4. View guidance for reopening businesses, county status and what’s open. Spokane Valley is in Phase 2.

The governor release an updated, county-by-county “Safe Start” plan on May 29 for resuming activities; and additional measures on July 16 to help contain the spread.

View the Governor’s Office COVID-19 website. Here are the state’s current guidelines for business and industry:

Phase 3 guidelines

Phase 2 guidelines

Phase 1 guidelines

Essential Business Guidance

Many essential businesses are currently being allowed to operate under specific safety guidelines. For a list of essential businesses click here.

Phase 1 of the four-phases began May 5 across the state; phase 2 began May 22 in Spokane County. Here is a current summary of what is open, closed and prohibited. General questions from employers about the safe start plan can be directed to the state’s Business Response Center.

Help with locating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Need PPE for your employees so that you can reopen your business safely? The Association of Washington Business has developed a PPE Marketplace website that connects Washington businesses with manufacturers and distributors who supply PPE.  Area manufacturers and suppliers can also request to be added to the marketplace.

Additional resources for business reopening & recovery

Financial support for businesses and workers

Regional Business Tool

Spokane-area Chambers of Commerce have launched a new digital tool to help businesses determine the local, state and federal resources that are currently available and best meet their needs. Businesses can register to receive updates as new resources come online.

COVID-19 Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding

The CARES Act provides aid to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, health facilities, education systems, and local, state and federal government programs.

Business loan assistance

Federal resources

Small Business Administration (SBA) programs for COVID-19 Assistance: 

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This SBA loan helps businesses keep workers employed during COVID-19. Sole proprietors, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, tribal businesses and independent contractors can also apply. SBA will forgive loans if employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. Loan applications need to be submitted through a qualified lender. The current deadline to apply for a PPP loan is August 8.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance. This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 to businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Beginning June 15, SBA is again accepting new loan applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses.
  • SBA Debt Relief. This program will provide relief to businesses with current and new 7(a), 504 and microloans for a period of six months.
  • Express Bridge Loan. This program enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. This loan may provide vital economic support to a small business to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.
  • Main Street Lending Program – The Federal Reserve Board has officially opened its Main Street Lending Program to small and mid-size businesses and has told lenders to start making loans immediately. Borrowers must apply for program loans through a participating lender. Information for borrowers is available on the program website.

State resources

The Washington State Department of Commerce (DOC) has set up a resource website that addresses COVID-19 related issues, including employment, financial assistance, insurance, health updates, small business tools and more.

Local resources

New 7.20.20! The City of Spokane Valley is developing a process for small businesses and nonprofits to apply for $2.9 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding that it has received. Learn More

New 7.1.20! Spokane County has allocated $10 million of CARES Act dollars to fund a grant program to support small and non-profit businesses with 20 and fewer employees to help offset safety and operating costs, rent and other allowable expenses. The application process will be coordinated by Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI). Applications can be submitted through Aug. 14.

Federal tax filing deadline nears

  • Federal Taxes. Most IRS 2019 filing returns were due July 15. The IRS has posted filing and payment deadline Q&As to address additional extensions, first quarter estimated tax payments, IRAs and HSAs.
  • State Taxes. The Annual 2019 return was due June 15; the Quarter 1 return was due June 30 for those that file quarterly. Businesses should still file tax returns even if they are unable to pay. Contact the Department of Revenue for additional information.

Employment and workplace assistance

Employment Security Department

The Washington State Employment Security Department is updating information daily.

  • State unemployment benefits have been expanded to include many people who were previously not eligible, including many self-employed people and independent contractors.
  • Gov. Jay Inslee has extended a proclamation giving high-risk workers the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 without jeopardizing their employment or loss of income. The action provides high-risk workers with additional rights and protections, and is in effect until Aug. 1, 2020.
  • The state Employment Security Department has created a frequently asked questions page with information about the new federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act. This act will impact state employment benefits.
  • Workers who are laid off or furloughed temporarily, or who have their hours reduced can learn if they are eligible for employment benefits and file claims here.
  • The Department of Labor and Industries has information about Paid Sick Leave. When this leave is not available for employees to utilize, Paid Family & Medical Leave may be available to help.
  • The Department of Labor and Industries also has guidance regarding workers’ compensation coverage for employers of healthcare workers and first responders. The Industrial Insurance Act allows for healthcare and treatment of COVID-19 when work-related activity has resulted in probable exposure to the virus and certain criteria are met.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Learn more.
  • Print this easy-to-read reference guide that provides a list of scenarios related to COVID-19, and the benefits that may apply to workers who are impacted.

Managing workplace safety

UPDATE 7.2.20 – Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide mandatory face covering order effective June 26 and an updated facial covering order, 20-03.1 on July 24.

  • The state began requiring all employees in the state to wear a facial covering on June 8, except when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site, or when the job has no in-person interaction. Employers must provide cloth facial coverings to workers, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under the Department of Labor and Industries’ safety and health rules and guidance. Employees may choose to wear their own facial coverings at work, provided it meets the minimum requirements.
  • Employers must notify the employer’s local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the employer’s workplace, or if the employer is aware of two or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period.
  • Associated Industries has developed training videos for employers to help workers understand appropriate techniques for hand washing, mask-wearing, glove and hand sanitizer usage.
  • 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).

The State Department of Labor and Industries and US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can provide additional guidance and resources to employers and workers to plan when services reopen. Information is available for specific industries, such as construction, manufacturing, retail, delivery services, agriculture, and food & beverage.

Insurance information

The state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner has information regarding health insurance, business insurance, event cancellation insurance, travel insurance and more.

The Insurance Commissioner extended an emergency order to state health insurers on July 2 to waive copays and deductibles for consumers requiring testing for COVID-19.

Export assistance

The state’s Export Assistance Team/Division can help companies identify alternative markets and provide firms with STEP Vouchers to defray the costs of trade show or trade mission fees, airfare, interpreter and translation services, business matchmaking, export training programs and more.

Area Chambers of Commerce

Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, in addition to other local chambers, maintain a COVID-19 website that provides helpful resources, state and federal news and policy updates, and online webinars to help businesses in the recovery process.

Spokane-area chambers have launched a digital tool to help businesses determine the local, state and federal resources that are available and best meet their needs. This includes financial resources. Businesses can also register to receive updates as new resources become available.

Support for families and individuals

Public health information

Additional resources

Reopening your business

Ready to Reopen: A Playbook for Small Business – a publication of the US Chamber of Commerce

Research and Data

The Spokane Business Library is a collaboration between the Spokane County Library District and Spokane Public Library that provides web-based access to numerous research and information databases.

Marketing resources for all businesses

Keeping your small business going during a crisis
Navigating COVID-19 for Small Business

Facebook resources
Twitter resources

Funding campaigns (crowdfunding, gift card purchasing, etc)

Buy Now, Play Later Initiative set up by Washington Tourism Alliance to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak by encouraging customers to purchase gift cards. Businesses can sign up for the program here.

The Spokane-area Chambers of Commerce have launched a program to support regional small businesses that are closed due to COVID-19. It encourages financial donations to help purchase gift cards at nominated small businesses. The gift cards will be donated to area nonprofits and will generate revenue for participating small businesses.

Guidance for restaurants:

Spokane Regional Health District Covid-19 Food Establishment Guidance
National Restaurant Association – information and resources
COVID-19 Survival Guide for Restaurants (Modern Restaurant Management)

Guidance for travel/hotel/tourism businesses

Destination International – recovery plans, free webinars