Mayor Durkan and City Council Announce $2 Million for Small Businesses and Organizations Most Impacted by Vaccine Verification Requirements

Eligible small businesses and organizations will receive an additional up to $1,000 to help enforce King County vaccination verification policy

Seattle (November 1, 2021) — Mayor Jenny A. Durkan Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide), Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park), and Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, South Seattle) announced that the City will be adding $2 million to the Office of Economic Development (OED) Small Business Stabilization Fund (SBSF) to support small businesses and organizations impacted by the new vaccination verification requirement in King County. Up to 2,000 eligible small businesses and organizations that are required to enforce this policy will receive additional funding of up to $1,000 to help offset the economic impacts of this requirement. 

Eligible sectors for this additional funding include restaurants, performing arts and cultural institutions, nightlife spaces, and extracurricular/recreational indoor activity spaces (such as bowling alleys, gyms, gaming facilities, etc.). Eligible applicants will not be required to submit a separate application to access this additional funding. The more than 500 businesses in these sectors that have already applied for this round of SBSF will be eligible automatically, and do not need to reapply. 

“Every step of the way, we have listened to the science – it’s why Seattle has the lowest cases, hospitalizations and deaths of every major city and one of the highest vaccination rates. The vaccine verification is the right thing to do to continue to keep our communities safe. Seattle is stepping up again, and as we implement this vaccine verification, it is important that we support our small businesses and arts community as necessary,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan.  

All small businesses and nonprofits such as performing arts, cultural institutions or business technical assistance nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply to the Small Business Stabilization Fund by November 14, 2021. All applicants in the eligible sections mentioned above that are required to enforce the vaccination verification policy may be eligible to receive this additional funding of up to $1,000 even if they are not selected for a Stabilization Fund during the random selection process. Organizations and businesses that have not yet applied for a Stabilization Fund grant should submit their application as soon as possible to access this additional funding. The grants up to $1,000 for vaccine verification are expected to begin to be distributed in December 2021 following the passage of the 2021 supplemental budget.

“As we ask folks to continue to follow CDC guideline to stay safe and healthy, we must also help small business who have been struggling to maintain their door open to the public in a safe way for their workers and customers. “Over these past year and ten months we have learn and adapted quickly to keep COVID rates as low as possible, this funding is another tool to help us accomplish that goal. Thank you to all the workers and small businesses who have continued to keep the economy running — we will continue to work to keep you and our community healthy and safe.” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). 
 

“As we continue to endure the impacts of the pandemic, we must balance our efforts to support the city’s economic recovery with the safety of the workers and patrons,” said Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, South Seattle). “I want to commend the staff at the Office of Economic Development (OED.) Their ingenuity and hard work will make it easier for small businesses to comply with the vaccination verification. This smart approach to our economic recovery makes our small business community more resilient and responsive to the ongoing public health crisis.” 

“Long before King County put vaccine verification in place, more than 140 establishments were requiring proof of vaccination already.  Standing with workers and small businesses struggling to stay open means helping to implement and enforce vaccine verification.  An analysis by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found that the vaccine verification policy at restaurants, bars, and gyms/fitness centers alone could prevent 17,900 to 75,900 infections, 421 to 1,760 hospitalizations, and 63 to 257 deaths locally over six months.  This step will save lives, remove pressure from our healthcare workers and keep small businesses open,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park)  

To be eligible for a Small Business Stabilization Fund grant, businesses and nonprofits must be currently open and operating, have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, be located within Seattle city limits, have no more than two locations, have an annual net revenue at or below $2 million, and have an annual net loss totaling or exceeding the SBSF grant amount applied for according to City Business and Occupation (B&O) data.  To apply for the Small Business Stabilization Fund or learn more about eligibility requirements and the application process, visit seattle.gov/SmallBusinessStabilizationFund

“We are asking our small businesses to pivot their operations yet again to help us respond to the realities of COVID in our city. We know that these changes can create additional costs for businesses doing their best to stabilize. I am grateful for the resiliency of our small business owners and believe this additional funding can relieve some of the financial pressure they are under as we transition into a new phase of our city’s recovery,” said Pamela Banks, Interim Director of the Office of Economic Development.   

The newest round of the Small Business Stabilization Fund is financed by the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFR) established under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). OED will administer these grants as part of their citywide economic recovery investments. Eligible businesses and nonprofits can apply for grants up to $20,000 based upon demonstrated negative financial impact resulting from COVID-19. Additionally, because OED has not opened the application pool for SBSF in nearly one year and due to the ongoing economic impacts from the pandemic, OED will accept applications from small businesses and nonprofits that applied and/or received SBSF grants in past rounds. 

ABOUT THE SEATTLE OFFICE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to building an inclusive economy in the City of Seattle. OED works at all levels of our local economy to support small and micro-businesses; partner with neighborhood business districts; support creative business sectors, workers and special event organizers; partner with key industries that drive innovation, job growth and global competitiveness; and invest in our local workforce with an emphasis on young people, low-income workers as well as unemployed and underemployed adults. As the city transitions from emergency COVID-19 response, OED will play a leading and critical role in near- and long-term economic recovery and community resilience efforts. Visit the OED website for more information on the department’s programs and services.