Upcoming: Washington Labor Grants for Businesses Affected by Canada-U.S. Border closure
Submitted by the Washington State Department of Health.
The Washington State Department of Commerce announced the launch of a new grant program on Oct. 4 to help some small businesses struggling due to the Canada-U.S. Border closure. The border has been closed to most travelers since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Working Washington Grants: Border Business Relief Program will focus on businesses in direct contact with customers who have experienced difficulties specifically due to COVID-19 border restrictions. Businesses must have reported annual revenues of $ 5 million or less in 2019 to the Department of Revenue and be located in Clallam, Jefferson, San Juan, Island, Skagit, Whatcom, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, or Pend Oreille counties.
Information and an overview of the application are available now at commercegrants.com. The application portal will be open from October 4 to 18. Customer support will be available in English and Spanish starting September 29.
“For businesses that depend on visitors entering or leaving Canada, this closure has been extraordinarily difficult. This subsidy program is a way to help small businesses hold on until US and Canadian officials come to an agreement on the reopening, ”said. Governor Jay Inslee. In July, Inslee visited businesses in Point Roberts, a small border town that has been largely isolated due to the closure.
Grants will be up to $ 50,000 and will take into account whether the company has already received a Working Washington grant.
This targeted subsidy program will prioritize businesses that meet one or more of the following criteria:
• Direct customer contact businesses that require direct face-to-face customer interaction for a significant portion of business activity. Examples include a retail store or nail salon.
• Businesses located within 20 miles of a Canadian border crossing or port.
• Industry sectors most affected by the shutdown, which include, but are not limited to, retail, tourism, hospitality, recreation and entertainment.
• Company size (measured by 2019 turnover)
• Loss of income between 2019 and 2020 and / or additional expenses to maintain safe operations
• Businesses operating in a rural or low-income community and / or owned by a person from a historically underserved population (minority, veteran, LGBTQ + or owned by women).
Commerce, which has administered nearly a dozen nonprofit and business grant programs to date, will also work on a new round of Working Washington business grants funded by the state legislature during the session of 2021. This program will probably be launched this winter.
“We appreciate the support of the governor and lawmakers in our many efforts to support communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Lisa Brown, director of the Department of Commerce. “While the recovery is going well for some companies, many continue to face significant challenges. It’s very uneven at this point. A strong and fair recovery forces us to focus on those who still face obstacles in getting back on their feet. “