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First details on new round of business grants

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | November 27, 2020 1:00 AM

OLYMPIA — Small businesses seeking help to defray costs incurred because of the most recent round of COVID-19-related restrictions and closures can apply for state aid next week.

According to an announcement from the Washington State Department of Commerce, applications for the $50 million, third round of Working Washington Small Business grants will be accepted online beginning Monday, Nov. 30, with priority given to applications received by Dec. 10.

Eligible businesses must have had annual revenues of $5 million or less in 2019 and have been most affected “by the recent public health measures,” such as restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys and music venues.

The maximum grant award to each business will be $20,000 and can only be used to “cover expenses or costs incurred due to COVID-19 and that were necessary to continue business operations,” the department said.

Applicants will need to have a copy of IRS form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number, government-issued photo I.D., 2019 tax return or other confirmation of business revenue for 2019, and proof of address for businesses with a physical location.

In addition, the department said non-profits that fall into similar business categories — such as non-profit restaurants — will also be eligible. To apply, go to www.commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants.

The grants are part of $135 million in emergency assistance announced by Gov. Jay Inslee after he issued a new series of four-week closures and restrictions on Nov. 15. Inslee established the Working Washington Small Business grants after the first pandemic-related closures in March. A total of $20 million in two rounds was awarded to businesses across the state.

The Department of Commerce is also establishing a $30 million business recovery loan program, which the department expects to launch in the first quarter of next year.

Also part of the aid package is $20 million in rental assistance and $15 million in utility payment assistance to workers hardest hit by the pandemic-related closures.

To apply for rent assistance, Grant or Adams county residents can contact the Housing Authority of Grant County at 509-237-2876 or check the authority’s website hagc.net. Click on the “Apply Now!” tab and then on “Rental Assistance.”

Grant or Adams county residents need help making utility payments should contact the OIC of Washington offices in Moses Lake at 509-765-9206.