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Small Business Development Center

Business Continuity Resources


Safer, Stronger, Together: Your health and safety is our priorityThe “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

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: 11-20-2020)

Have you seen the latest Covid-19 guidelines for small businesses on the Governor’s Guidelines Website? These challenging yet necessary restrictions went into effect on November 17th, 2020, 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 and start your journey to a better 2021, today.

Table of Contents

SBA Lending Options

  • 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 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) closed at the end of August 8, 2020. As such, the SBA is no longer accepting PPP applications from participating lenders)

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.

You can find the EZ Forgiveness Application by clicking this link.

You can find the Full Forgiveness Application by clicking this link.

These will be SBA backed loans, originated by SBA approved lending institutions. If your current bank cannot meet your needs, you can find other SBA lenders.

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 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

    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:

    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

    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