All branches of the Washington State Library are currently closed to the public. Questions received via email, chat, and phone will be answered between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Collection items are available through your local library using interlibrary loan. All collection materials currently checked out due July 15, and the blue book drop located near our back door is available for use. For more information, please visit our page regarding the closure.

Washington State Library COVID-19 Resources

Economic Impact Resources for Workers & Businesses During COVID-19

Economic Impact Resources for Workers & Businesses During COVID-19

Resources to use or share with patrons on how to navigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

last updated 6.9.20

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27. In addition to programs for individuals and small business noted below, the CARES Act also includes support for economic development agencies and programs to assist businesses in need, including funding for the Community Development Block Grant, assistance to minority business development centers and minority chambers of commerce, and several million dollars for state arts and humanities agencies and partners. The plan provides stimulus checks to most Americans (variable based on income), broader and quicker unemployment benefits coverage, and more. The New York Times has published an article explaining the stimulus package and answering common questions.

Resources for Workers  |  Resources for Business  |  Conducting & Reopening Business Safely  |  Starting Up? Resources for Entrepreneurs

Resources for Workers

Family Assistance & Support

The Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)’s You and Your Family page contains a comprehensive list of topics with extensive links to federal, state, and local programs and services that may be helpful for Washingtonians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Washington 2-1-1 helps connect individuals to community resources statewide. Dial the number 2-1-1 or access resources online.

The State Library's COVID-19 Resource page has resources to support stay-at-home workers and learners, as well as families during COVID-19. 

More general (non-COVID-19) resources can be found on our Living Well in Washington pages

Mortgage Help for Homeowners Impacted by the Coronavirus from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief Options from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

BenefitFinder.gov - Questionnaire to find the right benefits for you.

Tax Relief

IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments:  (available in English & Spanish) Information about the direct payments to individuals coming out of the federal CARES Act. Info also available in Spanish. Payments for individual and family taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019, eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans' benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive payments automatically, no further action is needed. This includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits. Non-federal income tax filers can enter their information on the IRS website to receive payment

Deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes were extended to July 15, 2020. Qualifying individuals may be eligible for free tax return preparation. Use the IRS Free Tax Preparation Locator and the AARP Tax-Aide Locator or call 2-1-1 to find free local tax sites.

Credit Card Assistance 

Many credit card providers offer financial assistance based on hardship. Assistance is based on each cardholder’s individual situation but could include lowering monthly payments, late payment fee relief, temporary interest rate reduction, or payment deferral. Bankrate.com, a personal finance company, collected a list of participating providers who are offering temporary relief solutions. If your bank or credit card company is not listed, a quick phone call to them could be worth it to see how they can help.

Consumer Protection

The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Beware of emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.

Washington's Department of Employment Security offers information and guidance for those who have, or suspect they have, been a victim of Unemployment Insurance fraud.

Washington State Office of the Attorney General, Recovering From Identity Theft or Fraud page offers a step-by-step guide.

Scamspotter.org is a new (Google) website aimed at teaching people how to spot and avoid online scams – the effort comes as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that Americans have lost more than $40 million because of COVID-19-related scams.

Disabled Individuals

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation offices will be closed to the public until further notice. Customers are able to contact their local DVR office for service-related questions. For all other inquiries please call 1-800-637-5627. Information about rules and services changes are posted on their website.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has created What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the Coronavirus to help educate and prevent discrimination, and the Workforce GPS Disability and Employment community has compiled a list of federal resources to support the disabled segment of the American population; updated as new information is released.

The Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)’s Business & Workers page has an exhaustive list of topics and links for a wide variety of situations.

Working Washington's Resources for WA Workers in the Coronavirus Crisis was created to help workers navigate the rights & benefits they can access under pre-existing WA laws, and new rights & benefits that are available due to emergency measures.

Financial Assistance

If you are out of work due to COVID-19, there are a variety of benefits and assistance programs available. This FAQ can help identify the right option based on your unique situation.

Dept. of Employment Security’s Unemployment (UI) Benefits page where you’ll find a step-by-step guide to applying for UI benefits, and submitting weekly claims. Before beginning the applications process, use the resources below to get oriented to the rules, process, and materials/information you'll be asked to provide. If you have general questions about unemployment benefits, call 833-572-8400 first. They will likely be able to answer your questions, and if not, they can transfer you to a claims agent. Call volumes still remain very high, so it is always best to start at esd.wa.gov when looking for an answer.

Want a guided tour of the unemployment and expanded benefits applications? Join a webinar. ESD is hosting a number of webinars over the coming weeks to walk people through the unemployment application and expanded benefits application (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or “PUA”); Q&A will be available at the end. Not all the information will be relevant to you, but it will help you file your “PUA” application for expanded benefits. More information and registrations are on their webinar page. ESD recommends taking these 4 actions to get ready to open a UI claim:

  1. Stay up to date. If you haven’t already, sign up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts.
  2. Check your eligibility. Learn more about your eligibility and when to apply for benefits using the new Eligibility Checker. ESD encourages those eligible for regular unemployment to apply now, and those eligible under the new COVID-19 response rules to wait until after April 18.
  3. Get ready to apply. Use the Application Checklist to gather the information you'll be asked to supply to open a claim.
  4. Set up your Secure Access Washington (SAW) account. Watch this video that explains how!

Private Grant Programs

  • Search Grant Station for the latest coronavirus grant funding opportunities for nonprofits, small businesses, journalists, and artists, updated each business day and listed by deadline date. To filter to Washington specific opportunities use the Geographic Scope (North America, USA, Washington). For grantmakers giving throughout the country, select the country and leave the region filter blank.
  • GrantSpace is another resource to find emergency financial resources to help with COVID-19 hardships, for nonprofits, individuals, artists (all disciplines), and small businesses.
  • For a limited time (until May 15), Omnigraphics' Government Support Index is available at no charge. The Government Support Index is a comprehensive online resource covering all federal domestic programs offering financial and non-financial assistance, with searchable categories of need and application deadlines by each overseeing agency with locations and contacts.

  • The HALO Fund is for library workers who have lost their job or had wages significantly reduced as a result of COVID-19. Small personal grants of up to $250 can help with the household and other expenses.

  • The Plate Fund is an initiative to provide emergency financial assistance to King County restaurant and food-service workers who have lost jobs and income due to COVID-19. Created by the Schultz Family Foundation in partnership with All In Seattle, Seattle Foundation, and UpTogether, the program launches with $4 million in seed funding and has a goal to provide immediate one-time payments of $500 to restaurant workers, prioritizing the most vulnerable and in-need individuals so they can quickly pay for essentials such as food, medicine, transportation, baby products, and other expenses. Individuals may apply for assistance via a mobile-enabled website without having to leave their homes.

Up-Skilling from Home

Resources for Home Workers, College Students & Career Builders resource guide from the State Library's COVID-19 resource page offers lots of resources and ideas.

Digital Skills & Digital Literacy Training

DigitalLearn.org offers resources in English and Spanish for a variety of learning levels: whether you're new to computers, haven't used them for a while, are a little unsure and uncomfortable, or just need a bit of a refresher, there are tools to help you tackle technology at your own pace and gain the confidence you need to succeed in school or at work.

GCFLearnFree is a free online educational website focusing on technology, job training, reading, and math skills from the Goodwill Community Foundation.

Google's Applied Digital Skills offers free, ready-to-use, project-based video lessons to teach digital skills that have immediate, real-life application. Flexible lessons and format allows you to learn on your own schedule, at your own pace.

Earning the IC3 digital literacy certification is the best way to PROVE to employers and instructors that you have the digital skills necessary for success at work and college. Exams cover basic computing, productivity, and living online. The State Library funds Washingtonians' access to self-directed learning pathways to prepare for and obtain industry-recognized digital skills and software certification, through the Microsoft LinkedIn Learning Academy. Our exam partner Certiport is pleased to provide FREE 90-Day Access to their most popular web-based learning resources, including online practice exams and on-demand video-based courses, for the IC3 and other entry-level software certifications, and online testing is available for a limited time, as social distancing has closed schools and libraries for in-person testing. More information about certifications is on our Learn, Practice, Certify Page

Resources for Business

Webinars and other Live Update/Q&A Opportunities

Washington Dept. of Commerce's Business Response Center is standing by to respond to your questions about workplace safety, Safe Start phases, relief programs, paid sick leave, unemployment, and more.

Washington's Small Business Liaison Team regular webinar series offers information specific to small businesses, and a panel of state agency representatives respond to live Q&A.

The COVID-19 Info Series from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County and Kitsap County brings together experts from all areas of government and business to help answer questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, every Monday and Wednesday at 11:00am, via webinar and phone. The cumulative Q&A is captured in the FAQ on their South Sound Rapid Response page, where you can submit questions via Ask an Expert.

Declassified: Thurston's Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know is hosted by the Thurston Chamber of Commerce every Thursday at 2:15pm; various guests provide up-to-date information on business resources, state, federal and local actions, COVID-19 status and advocacy efforts for their community, with Q&A.

Archive of Gov. Inslee's press events and other TVW COVID-19 coverage, including “The Impact:  Road to Recovery,” is a twice-weekly (Tuesday and Thursday) look at the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Washington's economy and communities.

The Economic Recovery and Resiliency Webinar Series is hosted by the Association of Washington Businesses (AWB), Fridays, 10-11 a.m. through June 26, in partnership with the Association of Washington Business, Washington State Department of Commerce, and Employment Security Departments.

The COVID-19 Employer Resources Webinars features resources and real-time, expert insights on all aspects of the crisis as we navigate how COVID-19 continues to impact Washington state and the economy. The series is hosted by the Association of Washington Businesses (AWB) and is scheduled for Mondays from 10am - 11am, April 27 - Monday, June 22.

National Small Business Town Hall is hosted weekly by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help small businesses navigate financial aid programs and answer questions. The next airs on Friday, April 24th at 9am PST.

“Workshop Wednesdays” is a weekly series of virtual events focusing on a single topic related to COVID and its impact on small companies, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Resource Collections

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, with help from the Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County and under the guidance of industry experts, has created Team. Through their new website, the rapid response Team will consult with businesses and direct them to experts who will assist them with questions and concerns they have due to the COVID-19 crisis. The consultations will occur via telephone and through an online 'Ask An Expert' question form, and experts will be able to help businesses work through the necessary steps to obtain available relief and resources based on their individual needs.

Startup Washington has an extensive collection of state and federal resources to help entrepreneurs and small businesses on their Crisis Planning Tools & Resources page.

Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has many resources for small business, including business resiliency workbooks, webinars and business resources related to protecting your business, and SBDC advisors who can provide one-to-one assistance to help you think through your options and make informed decisions.

Resources for employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic from the Association of Washington Business (AWB).

The National Restaurant Association has collected a list of Coronavirus Information and Resources featuring CARES Act updates, Questions, Resources, & News Articles; email updates are available.

Financial Assistance

Many businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 will qualify for two new employer tax credits – the Credit for Sick and Family Leave and the Employee Retention Credit, a refundable, 50 percent payroll tax credit covering up to $10,000 per employee, including benefits, from the period of March 13 to December 31.

The Washington State Department of Commerce has established the Small Business Resiliency Assistance program to provide technical assistance for small business owners from culturally and historically disadvantaged communities, whose businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Washington State’s ethnic commissions, Commerce is contracting with community-based organizations to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate help for business owners. Business owners who would like assistance identifying next steps can visit this site to identify a community-based organization in their area, to email or speak with a business coach.

Modeling and Managing the Virus’ Financial Impact to Your Business, and article from SmartBooks, a Massachusetts-based small business accounting and finance firm.

The US Small Business Administration has set up a Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources page to help small businesses understand their options. There are several different programs a business could leverage, including:

The Coronavirus Emergency Loan Small Business Guide and Checklist (also available in Spanish) was created for small business looking to make use of CARES Act emergency loans, prepared by the The US Chamber of Commerce.

Smartbooks has published an article explaining how and why business owners should go about choosing the various loan options

F.A.Q. on Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses, Freelancers and More. was published by the New York Times on April 13, 2020.

USDA Rural Development Offers COVID-19 Assistance (PDF) This resource matrix organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. Opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type. (updated 4/15)

Loan Alternatives

Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants program was established by Governor Inslee to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Up to $5 million in funds are provided through the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund and administered by the State Department of Commerce. The grant program will provide a limited number of businesses in Washington’s 39 counties with a grant up to $10,000.

Crowdsourcing is a great way to get immediate financial support from your loyal customers and personal connections to keep your business running. The US Chamber of Commerce has compiled several different crowdsourcing options, which include: 

  • GoFundMe: Generally used for emergency and charitable causes. Patrons make donations to a company or cause, who gets to keep the funding, minus a 2.9% processing fee and $0.30 of each donation. 
  • Kickstarter: Generally geared towards startups and new business ideas or projects. Kickstarter is “all or nothing,” which means that if you do not attain the fundraising goal you’ve set, your project will go unfunded. Businesses generally incentivize donors by providing a “return” once the goal has been reached. For example, once normalcy has returned, you could provide donors with a gift card in the amount they contributed, early access to a new product, or whatever you deem relevant to your company. 
  • Indiegogo: Generally geared toward business needs, charities, or creative works. They offer both fixed (all-or-nothing) and flexible (you keep what you raise) funding options. Indiegogo usually charges a 5% fee, plus a 3% processing fee, plus $0.30 of each transaction. However, because of the COVID-19 crisis, they have set up a Local Business Relief Program and are waiving their platform fee for campaigns accepted into this program. 

Private Grant Programs:

  • Google Ad Credits:  like Facebook, Google realizes it’s more important now than ever for its small business clients to reach their customers and let them know about changing hours, a new take-out or delivery menu, a special offer, or a disruption in service. To that end, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a $340 million initiative to give Google Ad credits to any small business with an active account over the past year. The credit automatically appears in qualifying businesses’ accounts and can be used any time through the end of 2020.
  • Yelp:  In addition to the partnership with GoFundMe and Intuit described above, Yelp has also developed their own relief package for users, valued at $25 million. The program has a few different components:
    • All fees incurred for Yelp Ads delivered from 3/16/20-3/31/20 have been waived.
    • For any business who has indicated on their Yelp page that they offer take out or delivery, Yelp will set up a $100 ad campaign free of charge, to run in April.
    • All paid features or upgrades active on businesses’ accounts will be free through at least April 30.
    • Use of free premium features for restaurant or nightlife businesses through at least April 30.
  • James Beard Relief Fund was established by the James Beard Foundation to support restaurants, which have been hit particularly hard during this time. Corporate, foundation, and individual donors can contribute to the fund, which in turn will provide microgrants to independent food and beverage businesses in need; click here to donate or apply for the program.
  • Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund targets organizations with fewer than 50 employees or that generate less than $7 million in annual revenue, and are local to the Seattle area. Amazon is pledging $5 million dollars in the form of cash grants for this program.
  • Verizon and LISC: Small Business Recovery Fund:  Verizon has donated $2.5 million to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), who will use that money to offer grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps. Priority will be given to applicants who are entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses, or are part of an enterprise in historically under-served places without access to flexible, affordable capital.

Reopening & Conducting Business Safely

The statewide Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, first announced on March 19, ended June 7. The Safe Start plan is the state’s strategy to adapt to local conditions and optimize economic activity and public health.

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers, listed by business and phase.

Washington Department of Labor & Industries' Washington Coronavirus Hazard Considerations for Employers (except COVID-19 carein hospitals & clinics) Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirator Choices

Challenge Seattle’s COVID-19 Business Checklist offers a library of ideas and precautionary measures that businesses can deploy to resume activity and protect workers and customers.

AWB’s “PPE Connect” marketplace connects Washington employers with Washington manufacturers of protective equipment. AWB has also published a Safe Work Plan template that may be a helpful starting point for your own internal communications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, including guidance on how to reduce transmission among employees, maintain healthy business operations, and maintain a healthy work environment.

Information and Q&A from the public about the EEO laws and COVID-19, from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

For businesses operating across state lines, MultiState’s COVID-19 Policy Tracker contains resources on the state and local government response to COVID-19/coronavirus.

‘Implementing a National Return to Work Plan’ is a memo released on April 13 by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce that raises may issues and consideration to help us helps kick-off a discussion around the question, ‘What will a return to work look like?’

Google For Small Business’ presents ‘Steps you can take today’ to keep your business going, whether you’re open, offering limited services, or closed during Stay Home, Stay Healthy.

Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic is available from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Starting Up?  Resources for Entrepreneurs

How I Financed It - Ever wonder how small businesses got their start? South Sound Business News interviews four local startups to learn how they financed their companies, and share their reflections and knowledge acquired through the process.

COVIDCAP.com is a searchable website to help any entrepreneur in the world, for-profit or nonprofit, struggling due to the economic impacts of COVID19, to locate cash relief resources in their community.

If you are a Washington library worker and would like to join the Washington Libraries Work listserv to share information and ideas on libraries supporting job seekers, career exploration and development, and engaging with state and local workforce development system partners, send an email to Elizabeth Iaukea at [email protected] with 'Join walibswork' in the subject. If you have resources you would like to recommend for addition to this page/list, please email Elizabeth with 'COVID-19 Workforce Development Resource Recommendation' in the subject. Please include a short (1-3 sentence) description with link(s), and the section where you recommend the resource be added.

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