Federal Economic Stimulus Package

Congressional leaders and the White House announced, shortly after midnight, that an agreement had been reached on the nearly $2 trillion economic response stimulus package. A final vote is expected today, March 25th. Here are some of the key provisions under the historic relief package:  


  • Direct payments of $1,200 to most individuals making up to $75,000, or $2,400 for couples making up to $150,000. The amount decreases for individuals with incomes above $75,000, and payments cut off for those above $99,000. 

  • Expanded unemployment benefits that boost the maximum benefit by $600 per week and provides laid-off workers their full pay for four months 

  • $367 billion in loans for small businesses 

  • $150 billion for state and local governments – we will soon be doing a breakdown for the state of Washington and Seattle

  • $130 billion for hospitals 

  • $500 billion in loans for larger industries, including airlines 

  • Creation of an oversight board and inspector general to oversee loans to large companies 

  • Measure prohibiting companies owned by members of Congress, the President and their families from receiving federal relief 


For a nice easy-to-access story, please see: CBS News: What’s in the Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package? 

On Friday, March 27th, the House of Representatives successfully approved the $2.2. trillion coronavirus relief package which offers increased security to the health care system, small business, laid-off workers, and the economy. The President is expected to sign and local and state governments, including the city of Seattle and Governor Inslee’s office will be assessing how best to access resources, particularly appropriations dedicated to helping small businesses.

City of Seattle’s Latest Resources for citizens

The city of Seattle has just curated a new centralized website containing a full suite of information and links for City of Seattle programs and services that may be helpful for residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also listed on the page are community, county, and state resources that may be helpful to you. Some of these programs and services are available to everyone regardless of where you live,  although other restrictions may apply. The site offers the latest guidance on healthcare and hygiene, immigration related information, food support, internet access, rent and utility bill support, and support for workers who have been affected by the coronavirus. The city will continue updating the page as more resources develop.

Inslee announces “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order – seeks expansion of unemployment benefits

On Monday evening, March 23rd, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced he has signed a statewide order that requires everyone in the state to stay home. The order will last for two weeks and could be extended.

 The Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is similar to orders that other governors from a growing number of states have issued over the last week in response to escalating COVID-19 cases and spiking numbers of death.

 The proclamation will:

  • Require every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.

  • Ban all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.

  • Close all businesses except essential businesses.

“The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save,” Inslee said. 

Also, on Monday, Inslee and other governors sent a letter to the White House urging President Donald J. Trump to expand unemployment benefits essential to many workers who are impacted by stay home, stay healthy orders.

U.S. Small Business Administration Amends Disaster Declaration

U.S. Small Business Administration Amends Disaster Declaration – Disaster Assistance Now Available to all Washington Small Businesses Economically Impacted by COVID-19

The Washington State Department of Commerce want businesses in our state to know that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has amended its original disaster declaration to apply to all Washington small businesses, regardless of county. 

These low-interest loans for working capital are now available to any small businesses suffering economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

SBA disaster assistance is now available in all counties within the state of Washington.

SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the COVID-19 since Jan. 31 may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses, which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. 

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the COVID-19. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. 

Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.

Please place the sentence and links below on our Business Resource page:

U.S. Small Business Administration Amends Disaster Declaration – Disaster Assistance Now Available to all Washington Small Businesses Economically Impacted by COVID-19. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. 

More details can be found on COVID-19 Blog [insert link]


Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce TAKING ACTION, ADVOCATING FOR BUSINESSES


Hearty cheers and appreciation to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber and the Business Health Trust who together, commissioned a study by Seattle-based Community Attributes to analyze the current regional economic impact of the outbreak.

Their initial analysis is a snapshot in time and as we have seen, the situation is evolving rapidly. Key observations include:

  • The immediate focus of businesses in the state should be to help slow the spread of the virus. Economic recovery projections depend on predictability coupled with virus control – the sooner we can get past the peak, the better. 

  • Regardless of the timetable, the Puget Sound economy is already experiencing an economic shock that will take many months to recover from.

  • In the very near-term COVID-19 will severely impact nearly 40% of all the jobs in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. This includes either wage reductions or temporary layoffs. Most of these jobs will return once this public health emergency has passes, but not all the businesses will survive.

  • We are seeing lower earning households and hourly wage earners hurt disproportionately, with $38,000 being a key inflection point.

  • Every industry is seeing some impact and while a few industries may see temporary increased demand – such as household supplies and food providers – and some industries can pivot to teleworking or other new routines, everyone will experience some level of economic impact through the balance of 2020.

  • To the extent possible, policymakers need to urgently pursue proposals that can mitigate further deterioration and stimulate a return to growth.

The Seattle Chamber recently sent letters to our Congressional delegation and to state leaders. The Magnolia Chamber will join others in reaching out to ask for immediate assistance and ensure our voices are heard, our members’ stories are told, as we work together to focus on the regional economy. 

Strategies that could help break the negative economic cycle, include:

  •  Loosen lending and monetary policy
    Monetary policy includes the primary tools of the federal government, but lending support to borrowers must be broadly implemented.

  • Rent and debt service relief
    Landlords, their financiers, and the federal government must collaborate to give renters and borrowers (commercial and residential) significant flexibility for three or more months after the virus is under control (which is an undetermined date at this point.)

  • Direct payments and support
    Major employers with capital reserves have stepped into the role traditionally for government to provide direct assistance to small businesses affect in their area. Government provides grants and immediate relief. Employees and households will need direct support.

  • Government spending
    Capital investments must proceed. Infrastructure investments support communities directly and they create jobs that support local and regional economies.

  • Fiscal policy shifts
    Washington and its cities depend primarily on sales and use and similar taxes, excise taxes, and property taxes. Cities and the state will find budgeting very difficult in the months ahead to cover the costs of spending critical for relief right now. New funding sources and new approaches to revenue management will be required.

This is the time to rally together. On a good note, Seattle s 2-3 weeks ahead of many other areas across the country. The Magnolia Chamber will work together with leaders like the Seattle Chamber to continue doing everything we can to help the businesses and workers who are particularly vulnerable to the outbreak and its economic impact.

Resources from the Seattle Dept. of Economic Development

Resources from the Seattle Department Economic Development

Seattle’s Department of Economic Development (SDED) has created a great page that provides all kinds of resources for small business.

The page consolidates federal, state and local resources for businesses and employees, and will be updated daily as more programs and information become available. 

SDED’s Only in Seattle Team is providing additional trainings, resource guides, and support to help you serve your businesses and communities. We will keep all updated as they provide more information and resources in the days ahead.

Action REQUESTAs a business or non-profit organization in Seattle, please help SDED understand what your business is going through. 

The Seattle Office of Economic Development, Greater Seattle Partners, and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce are coordinating a regional effort to assess the economic impacts related to COVID-19. The information will inform strategies to speed recovery and may lead to emergency relief programs and support.

Access the survey here. Providing information is essential as our region works with local lawmakers and policy makers to ensure small business needs are addressed effectively and quickly.