COVID-19 Symptom Attestation

Small Business Development Center

Business Continuity Resources

Safer, Stronger, Together: Your health and safety is our priority

The “Safer. Stronger. Together.” campaign supports our local businesses to reopen safely. The campaign brings businesses together to learn and problem-solve the best ways to follow public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Participating businesses have pledged to follow health and safety guidelines, so you know they are doing their part to keep you safe. You can find campaign materials, additional resources, and more information at www.whatcomtogether.org.

The “Safer. Stronger. Together.” campaign was produced through a partnership between the Whatcom County Health Department and the Port of Bellingham’s Regional Economic Partnership, in collaboration with Chambers of Commerce, Whatcom County Tourism, and Downtown Business Partnerships. It’s a part of the work of the COVID-19 Employer Support Task Force

Business Continuity Resources

Western Washington University's Small Business Development Center is closely monitoring the impacts to our local businesses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. We will be updating this page with resources and information that can help our small business community get through these challenging times. (last update: 01-05-2021)

Have you seen the latest Covid-19 guidelines for small businesses on the Governor’s Guidelines Website? Gov. Inslee announces new ‘Healthy Washington’ on January 5th, 2021, so be sure to check the governor’s website for complete information. In times like these it’s more important than ever to connect with your Western SBDC team of certified business advisors. Your SBDC team can help you plan your responses to the business challenges of 2020 and beyond. Call your SBDC at (360) 778-1762 or email us at sbdc@wwu.edu and start your journey to a better 2021, today.

Table of Contents

SBA Lending Options

  • CARES Act 2— Updates as of December 23, 2020

A COVID relief bill has made its way through the Capitol and will soon be signed into law. This pandemic stimulus brings back some of the more popular relief programs and includes expanded eligibility for participation. A second round of forgivable PPP loans will be open soon and small businesses should be prepared to apply the very first day the applications open.If you have questions about business pandemic relief or would like to apply for relief for your business, your free and confidential SBDC is ready to work with you. Call (360) 778-1762 or email sbdc@wwu.edu for more information.

Below are a few of the notable provisions from the COVID relief bill and here is the link for the full section-by-section summary from the House Appropriations Committee

UNEMPLOYMENT

  • $300 increase in Federal unemployment
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (independent contractors, gig economy workers) extended to March 14

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM 2

  • $284B for a second round of PPP loans, businesses with one can get another
  • Creates “second draw” PPP, with eligibility standards
  • Allows deductions for otherwise deductible expenses paid with a forgiven PPP loan
  • Repeal of EIDL grant forgiveness deduction
  • Businesses with NAICS 72, e.g., restaurants and hotels allowed loans of 3.5 times monthly payroll
  • Expanded eligibility for certain 501(C)(6) organizations, e.g., Chambers of Commerce
  • Destination marketing also eligible, with limitations

 

  • Eligibility:
    • You must have been in business prior to February 15, 2020, no exceptions, it was written into the law.
    • Qualified businesses can be corporations, LLCs, sole proprietors, self-employed, independent contractors.
    • Borrower must have used, or will use, all of any previous PPP loans if received.
    • Fewer than 300 employees in any one location.
    • Business income must have declined by 25% or more in any quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. Borrowers might also need to indicate that the loan is an economic necessity. There are also provisions for seasonal businesses to adjust the time periods.
    • No loan can be greater than $2 million.
  • How to Prepare:
    • Get your facts together: Calculate your income by quarters, 2020 versus 2019. PPP2 borrowers will need to certify at least a 25% drop in gross revenues, minus PPP1, unemployment or other grants.
    • Build a lender portfolio: Contact local banks, community lending institutions, credit unions and online lenders. Ask whether they’re going to participate in the next round of PPP lending. Get contact information for individual lending officers. Find a multiple lending sources.
    • Watch for application openings: Monitor your selected lenders for application information and act quickly – the program will be rapidly overwhelmed with applicants so act fast!

 

ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN TARGETED ADVANCE GRANT

  • Eligible Businesses in low-income communities that did not get EIDL loans/Advance grants because funds had run out can now get $10,000.

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS

  • $600 per family member, with a phase out above $75k AGI (section 272, 273)
  • Anyone who provided info through non-filer portal will receive payments

We'll have more information as it becomes available and we will publish our upcoming webinars on pandemic financial relief shortly.

  • EIDL Loan & EIDL Advance (EIDL Advance Applications are no longer available)

The SBA EIDL program offers long-term (up to 30 years), low-interest assistance for a small business or nonprofit. These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue. Applications are quick and easy to submit. To start an application visit the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance page.

About the COVID-19 EIDL:

  • May be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
  • The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • To keep payments affordable for small businesses, the SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years.
  • The first payment is deferred for one year.
  • Paycheck Protection Loan Program (Current law dictates that the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP 1) closed at the end of August 8, 2020)

Paycheck Protection Loan Program 2 (PPP 2) — Updates as of December 23, 2020

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM 2

A second round of forgivable PPP loans will be open soon and small businesses should be prepared to apply the very first day the applications open

  • $284B for a second round of PPP loans, businesses with one can get another
  • Creates “second draw” PPP, with eligibility standards
  • Allows deductions for otherwise deductible expenses paid with a forgiven PPP loan
  • Repeal of EIDL grant forgiveness deduction
  • Businesses with NAICS 72, e.g., restaurants and hotels allowed loans of 3.5 times monthly payroll
  • Expanded eligibility for certain 501(C)(6) organizations, e.g., Chambers of Commerce
  • Destination marketing also eligible, with limitations
Paycheck Protection Loan Program 1 (PPP 1)

Primarily for payroll expenses, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides up to $10 million per small business in loan forgiveness for retaining employees. The loan forgiveness portion is dependent on keeping and paying employees or re-hiring employees laid off in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

How PPP Loan and EIDL Loan funds can be used: Check out this handy flowchart and permitted use of funds document.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put together a PPP Loan Foregiveness Guide.

Updated Forgiveness Information: The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020. In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

Both applications will allow borrower to use either the original 8-week covered period or the extended 24-week covered period.

Many traditional lenders have been overwhelmed with applications. You may want to consider some of the FinTech companies like Kabbage, Square, etc. listed below in the Alternative Lending options.

Waiting to hear back about your loan forgiveness application?

 

Lenders have not yet received the final guidance from the Department of the Treasury and SBA, so are hesitant to act until more information is available.

 

Key points:

  •  A loan forgiveness application can be submitted only when 1) all the funds have been used, 2) the borrower has all the required supporting documentation and 3) when the lender is ready to accept the loan forgiveness application
  • The PPP borrower will work with the lender from whom they received the funds, unless the loan has already been sold to a servicer
  • Depending on the borrower’s choice of safe harbor, the documentation needed for loan forgiveness might not be available until the end of the covered period
  • The borrower has up to 10 months after the end of the covered period to submit the fully completed loan forgiveness application
  • The lender has 60 days to review an application before submitting it to the SBA
  • The SBA has 90 days to return a decision back to the lender
  • For some it will be the end of next year before they loan forgiveness is resolved. The good news is that there will be no interest accrual on the forgiven portion of the PPP funds 

If you have questions or concerns about your PPP loan, send us an email at sbdc@wwu.edu or call us at (360) 778-1762

  • Express Bridge Loan

These loans allow small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

You can read more detail about this program at the SBA website.

  • SBA's Debt Relief Efforts

     

The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.

The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

What to Expect

Following are some helpful PDF's on what to expect from the process and what documentation you will need to prepare.

Be Prepared - Loan Application Checklist

Application Tip Sheet

Other Local Lending Options

These local banks and credit unions are rolling out emergency funding options:

    Alternative Lending Platforms

    Following are some alternative sources of funding, inclusion in this list is not an endorsement or a recommendation:

    • Prosper (Personal loans up to $40K)
    • Lending Club (personal and business loans)
    • OnDeck (Business loans up to $500K, also taking PPP applications)
    • Kabbage (Up to $250,000 lines of credit)
    • Square (if using Square Point-of-Sale)
    • Amazon (for Amazon sellers)
    • Lendio (FinTech platform connecting borrowers to PPP lenders)
    • BoeFly (FinTech platform connecting borrowers to commercial lenders)

    Tax Relief Options

    Both Federal and State taxing authorities are developing programs to offer deferral of the payment of taxes which can help businesses retain cash to meet operating expenses. 

    Grants for Business

    Comcast RISE: Comcast RISE (second phase) offers help to small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) across Washington state. Today’s announcement opens the program to all business owners in the BIPOC community in Washington state to apply for grants and other forms of assistance. For more details, check our the Comcast RISE website.

    Port Revolving Loan Fund: The Port of Bellingham has business loans available for local companies impacted by Covid-19. Check out the Port of Bellingham's website for more info.

    GoFundMe has created Small Business Relief Initiative, more details can be found on their Small Business Relief Initiative and Fund FAQs.

    Google has also created a Small Business Grant, largely based on free advertising credits the details of which can be found here: COVID-19 Ad credits for Google Ads Small and Medium-sized Businesses.

    Hello Alice with the support of Verizon, Silicon Valley Bank, Ebay, and others is offering $10,000 emergency grants, being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by this pandemic. Visit their website for more information.

    Unemployment Options for Employees (and self-employed owners, independent contractors & gig workers)

    • State Resources

    Washington's Employment Security Department has programs to assist businesses and workers during this crisis. If you are affected by COVID-19, Employment Security has programs that may be able to help. They have adopted a series of emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses. You can get more information at: https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19

    Labor is often the largest single expense item for businesses and if revenues have dropped due to forced closures and reductions in consumer spending then now is the time to look at workforce reduction options. ESD has summarized various labor situations for employers to consider from layoffs, to stand-by and shared-work status in their message on COVID-19.

    • Federal Resources

    The U.S. Department of Labor's unemployment insurance programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and meet certain other eligibility requirements. You can find more information about federal unemployment benefits at the Department of Labor website.

    What About Paid Family & Medical Leave?

    This may be another source of financial relief for workers who are themselves sick, subject to quarantine or caring for family members. You can find out more at https://paidleave.wa.gov/coronavirus/.

    Labor and Industries also has a great FAQ summary.

    Employer Paid Leave Requirements and Tax Credit Provisions

    The House recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act which is summarized with this chart.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs.

    The IRS recently published information on the Employee Retention Credit.

    Small Business Guides

    The Washington State SBDC has put together the following guide and planning documents that can be downloaded and customized for your company:

    From the State of Washington:

    Additional Business Resources

    General Public Information