CEO Corner: What you need to know this week

Monday, April 27, 2020

Main News Photo

It’s been so hectic I haven’t gotten to finish this until the weekend. News changes by the hour, it seems, but I want you to be ready for Monday.

A few important items:

Unemployment Compensation:  Please do not feel compelled to apply for the week’s unemployment benefits on Sunday as soon as you are able. This is not like the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) that ran out of money (more on that below).

You will be paid regardless of when during the claim week you file. The fund for unemployment is not going to run out, so if your situation is not dire, Commissioner Suze LeVine and the good folks at ESD ask that you wait until Tuesday or later to file online or by phone. You actually have until Saturday night to file for the week.

The unprecedented level of demand on the system will be completely unworkable unless people stagger their claims a bit to enable the bandwidth and workers to process it. With the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance, an individual could have two or three claims to process at once, including backdated ones.

Please visit the website and do the advance work that will make your filing easier and more likely to succeed.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The Interim Economic Emergency Package signed into law Friday pours over $300 billion into the PPP, including a large chunk directed to those who may not have access to conventional banking institutions. The Small Business Administration loan web portal reopens today, April 27, at 7:30 a.m. Particularly for nonprofit organizations (at this point only 501(c)(3) or (c)(19)) that may have been delayed at the bank in the first round should take advantage of this opportunity. EDASC and sister organizations have joined forces through the Washington Economic Developers Association (WEDA) to contract with the nonprofit National Development Council (NDC), an approved SBA lender.

If your business, whether for-profit or nonprofit, needs help with the PPP at this time (and Monday morning is not your last chance), please get in touch with us at office@skagit.org and we will get you connected.

By the way, that new appropriation from Congress had more money for EIDL loan guarantees, for hospitals to be reimbursed for lost revenues due to COVID-19 issues, and for a national testing plan in which tribal and community health centers are specifically provided for now, fixing an unfortunate exclusion that existed previously. Thank you to our Congressional Representatives Suzan Del Bene and Rick Larsen for working so hard under trying circumstances for our people.

State Updates: Governor Inslee made provisions to bring back some construction work under the proper health safety conditions. A link to his proclamation can be found here. He also opened the discussion to the reopening process, which he said would be more like turning a dial than flipping a switch. Restrictions may also soon ease on recreation. The Governor and his staff, including particularly the Department of Commerce and the Employment Security Department, have been extraordinarily accessible and helpful during this crisis.

Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants: EDASC organized and carried out the effort to process nearly 400 applications for the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants, thanks to the generous participation of an outside review panel of diverse community members. These grants of up to $10,000 each to for-profit businesses with 10 or fewer employees are funded by the Governor’s Working Washington Fund, which was increased to $10 million this week. We anticipate that Commerce will fund approximately $250,000 in total grants to approximately 30 Skagit businesses, based on our share of the statewide population. The grants should be awarded within 4 to 6 weeks after review by the WA Department of Commerce. Huge kudos go to EDASC’s Tamsin Bell for coordinating this entire process.

EDASC Adapting: EDASC has been busy working with businesses to access resources, connections, and make changes and innovations to its practices to adapt to the current situation. The manufacturers EDASC works with have a number of issues as well, and we will be spending the next couple of weeks assessing and surveying that sector. EDASC continues to work alongside United Way of Skagit County with the Skagit Community Foundation to make emergency grants to non-profit organizations. Check out their website to donate to the fund or read about it. EDASC also works with sister organizations to commend COVID Crushers every Saturday. The third set of honorees was recognized here April 25 in the Skagit Valley Herald.

Looking forward, EDASC is focusing on the recovery process. We are thinking through what it could look like, and how our businesses can position themselves to rebound. More on this next week.


Please be assured we are here working for you, trying to help us all through this difficulty. We want to hear from you about how we can help you. We’re all working from home but can be reached at office@skagit.org . Be well and stay healthy!

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