Assistance for Small Businesses
For Immediate Release: Friday, March 20, 2020
Loans and other support available to businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19
As small businesses and non-profit organizations throughout Washington County facing challenges during the new coronavirus pandemic, federal, state and local governments are providing help.
“Many of our local businesses are suffering significantly as our community abides by potentially life-saving directions like social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington. “Washington County has been working with our state and federal partners to find solutions and help small businesses and nonprofits most impacted in the short-term while we continue to work toward long-term solutions.”
For small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) declared all of Oregon as eligible for small business economic injury disaster loans. These loans are intended to relieve economic injury created by the COVID-19. The money from these loans can be used for a variety of needs including paying fixed debts, payroll payments, and other bills that need to be paid. SBA has set an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits for these loans.
To apply for a loan, you can visit the SBA’s website at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
In addition, the Oregon Employment Department is working to assist businesses trying to remain open and keep employees on payroll. One program, called Oregon Share, can allow employers to create a reduced work schedule for employees, but have the state cover a portion of an employee’s pay check. For more information, visit the Oregon Employment Department’s webpage at: https://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Businesses/WorkShare.
To help employers who remain open for business in addressing their employees’ benefits and leave projects, the Bureau of Labor and Industry has consolidated some information here: https://www.oregon.gov/boli/pages/coronavirus-and-workplace-laws.aspx.
For employees, the rules and information around unemployment benefits are changing rapidly as both the federal government and the state make adjustment to the system. To find the most up-to-date information, check the Oregon Employment Department’s page here: https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx.
In addition to the above resources, Greater Portland Inc., the regional private-public economic development entity, is maintaining a page for employers with questions about resources and needs. That website is available here: https://greaterportlandinc.com/covid-business-resources.
For those employers who are still keeping the doors open and staff employed, public health officials urge social distancing protocols for workplaces. For more information and ideas, check out the Washington County’s website here: https://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/CommunicableDiseases/COVID-19/workplace-guidance.cfm.
County public health officials continue to remind the public about simple steps everyone can take to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands well and often;
- Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue;
- Stay home if sick;
- Cancel any gatherings, conferences or non-essential meetings;
- Avoiding social and other gatherings if you are over 60 or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, lung, heart or similar disease; and
- Increase the physical space between each other in workplaces and other settings to six feet whenever possible.
Health officials also ask that the public stay informed and educated through trustworthy sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority and Washington County Public Health Division.
General questions about COVID-19 can be answered by calling 2-1-1. Questions about your specific medical needs should be directed to your health care provider.
Media Contact:Philip Bransford, Communications Officer