Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Show All Answers
The Governor’s proclamation mandated the closure of non-essential businesses through at least May 4th. Essential businesses are listed in the “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” list at https://coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business.
The closure does not apply to businesses consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing business activities at their home or residence, and who do not engage in ‘in-person’ contact with clients.
There are currently no plans to require businesses to register or apply for any permits, though businesses need to demonstrate their “essential” status in order to remain open.
It is recommended that you provide your employees with a signed letter that states their employment status and the essential function of your business. Business letterhead would be preferred and business ID cards would also be helpful. However, travel permits are not REQUIRED at this time.
To stay in compliance, the following is required:
All businesses that remain open must ensure occupancy and lines formed for entry follow the guidelines for group size and social distancing. Six feet of space between individuals is critically important.
Essential businesses must establish and implement social distancing and sanitation measures established by the United States Department of Labor’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. Further information regarding these measures can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Coronavirus/workplace
Law Enforcement is conducting extra patrols, but we need you to ensure your business is secure. Here are some great ways to help protect your business during this temporary shutdown.
Make sure doors and door frames are of adequate construction, commercial grade locks are installed, functioning properly and have edge guards to prevent prying.
Exposed hinges require non-removable pins.
Sidewalk openings and their frames should be secured and properly locked.
Protect accessible windows with locks, security films, grilles or bars if possible.
Climbing aids, such as ladders, should be locked up or removed.
Test your alarm with your provider and update emergency contact lists.
Make sure all cameras are functioning, well-positioned, and views are unobstructed.
Change the combination of any safes, especially if employees have moved on.
Roof openings (skylights, ventilators) should be secured and alarmed.
Cash registers should be empty and left open to prevent unnecessary damage.
Law enforcement is committed to protecting both life and property. During this time, we encourage all businesses to connect with neighbors to remain vigilant of any suspicious behaviors and to immediately alert law enforcement to anything out of the ordinary.
As much as possible, employers should encourage and support remote work. Employers should encourage people to wash their hands often, cover mouth and nose when they cough and sneeze and stay home when they are sick. Employers should follow social distancing recommendations when setting up workspaces.
Employers should review sick leave policies. Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
More information for employers and businesses can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, visitors, and others at a worksite.
Follow guidance from Washington State Department of Health: http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDexposed.pdf
If an employee is sick with COVID-19 or you suspect infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your place of business and community.
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
If you think you or any of your employees have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Employers should inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
Employers should develop policies and procedures for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Where appropriate, employers should develop policies and procedures for immediately isolating people who have signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19, and train workers to implement them.
Employers should emphasize basic infection prevention measures. As appropriate, all employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices. Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes, discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible and maintain regular housekeeping practices.
If you must go to work, ensure you don’t have symptoms. You should:
Each disease investigation is unique. When appropriate, the Health Department provides specific guidance to organizations, businesses, schools and government officials based on possible disease exposure risk.
We encourage as many people as possible to stay home if able. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case or are experiencing symptoms, ensure you can stay home.
If you tested positive for COVID-19, you need to remain under home isolation for seven days OR for 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms are better. Whichever is longer.
If an employee had a fever, cough or shortness of breath but was not exposed to or positive for COVID-19, then they should stay home, away from others until 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms get better.
We communicate and coordinate our efforts with other health departments and the State Department of Health. If a person gets sick, we work with other health departments to identify close contacts and potential exposure sites.
You can use Paid Family and Medical Leave if you are sick with Coronavirus and off work for an extended time.
Information can be found on the Washington State Labor & Industries website: https://lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/leave/paid-family-and-medical-leave
Use alcohol wipes to wipe down keyboards or other devices. Be sure to follow product applications instructions on the product label.
Implement telework options for your staff. If staff can’t work from home, follow these recommendations:
Find more guidance on these websites:
Continue your regular safe food handling practices.
Learn more about food worker and establishment guidance on COVID-19 at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020/FoodWorkers
If you cannot financially weather this storm, yes. Apply. Everybody else with any question about being able to: it’s not a bad idea to apply now. If you are approved, you do not HAVE to take it, you can keep it in your savings until you’re through the worst of it, and the interest rate is pretty low if you use it at or below 4%. This loan has since been opened non-profits, as well. It can take weeks to get formally approved and then receive your money, so apply early. https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
The short answer is the PPP is meant to encourage employers to keep their workers employed through the crisis and what the dollars can be used for. Part or all the principal may be forgivable BUT keep DETAILED DOCUMENTATION. The PPP can only be used for:
It CANNOT be used for:
Taxes imposed or withheld during the covered period
Compensation of an employee whose principal place of residence is outside the United States
THE EIDL has a larger breadth of use. It is meant to help Small Businesses recover from economic losses sustained because of the pandemic. To apply you must have been in business since January 31, 2020. They have waived most of their previous requirements including years previous tax returns, being in business for one year, and personal guarantees for loans less than 200k.
This will be administered through an SBA Qualified Lender. Check with your financial institution. If they do not, contact the Cowlitz Economic Development Council: http://www.cowlitzedc.com/.
Yes, but keep detailed records, consider both LOANS even though portions of each can be converted to grants, and don’t spend what you can’t payback. You will apply for EIDL through SBA and the PPP through a qualified lender. Information on who is doing these is coming out now in the coming days.
Can you, sure. Should you? NO. These will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. But only $349 billion has been allocated to this program. This sounds like a lot of money, but you’re talking about businesses in ALL 50 states and territories. Imagine even half the business in Cowlitz County applying and multiply that by an average of 62 counties by state and at least 50 states. That money will be gone in a hurry.