COVID-19 Response - Updates & Information
The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing you with up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the relief efforts available to small businesses. We will provide the latest federal, state, local and private public health and business resources information as it comes in and in response to the surge in COVID cases. And, we will continue to advocate on your behalf with elected officials and public safety professionals. This November special edition newsletter provides information and newly announced tools to help you navigate the changing situations, new guidelines and the impacts on our small businesses, non-profits, and family members.

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COVID-19 Lay of the Land – pandemic statistics, public health impacts
On Friday, Nov. 13th, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,147 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily case count since the pandemic began. The two days that followed broke the new case daily records. 

In contrast, two weeks ago, DOH announced 1,000 new cases in a day for the first time since mid-summer. The so-called “fall surge,” is on a worsening trend and erased the notable progress that Washingtonians made this summer. The five largest counties, including King County, are experiencing steep increases in cases consistent with the nationwide trend.  (Department of Health)  

In Seattleduring the first two weeks of November, the city had 1,550 residents diagnosed with the virus. This is nearly a 20% increase of the total cases in the city since March 2020. The Seattle case count per 100,000 residents is more than five times higher than what it was at the end of the summer, rising from 40.8 cases per 100,000 residents to over 232 cases per 100,000 residents. Cases severe enough to require hospitalizations are four times higher than at the end of the summer, increasing from 1.3 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents to 6.1.

Progress on Vaccines.
On Monday, Nov. 16th, the National Institutes of Health announced that an independent data and safety monitoring board’s interim review from Moderna’s investigational COVID-19 vaccine suggests that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults. Barring any last-minute safety or efficacy concerns, vaccine developers Moderna and Pfizer plan to seek emergency-use authorization this month from the Food and Drug Administration. The federal government is communicating that vaccination will begin as early as December.  (Health and Human Services)  
Governor Takes Action – guidelines and advocacy

On Sunday, Nov. 15th, Governor Jay Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country. 

Restrictions include: Prohibiting indoor dining, indoor fitness facilities, and indoor gatherings outside of one’s household unless participants quarantine for a full 14-days. The set of restrictions are less severe than the stay-at-home order from the Spring, but the new shutdown will create harsh economic impacts throughout Washington.  (Office of the Governor)  
The Seattle Times put together a helpful guide on what you can and can’t do under Washington’s newest coronavirus stay-home restrictions. 

In the immediate aftermath of Governor Jay Inslee's announcement, local grocery stores have been impacted. Inslee's plan calls for 25% capacity at in-person retailers, including grocery stores. Due to over demand, many grocery chains put a limit on several key items. Grocers insist the local supply chain for food remains strong in Washington, particularly if residents do their part to keep the system running smoothly.  
Governor Inslee sent a letter Friday to the Trump administration requesting an extension of federal authority and funding for Washington National Guard employment in support of COVID-19 pandemic emergency response operations through March 31st, 2021. Currently, more than 800 members of the Washington National Guard are continuing to support the state’s pandemic response.  (Office of the Governor) 
Resources for Small Businesses.
The following are new and/or expanded opportunities for small businesses to navigate the anticipated economic turndown and address new restrictions. We will be updating on a regular basis as new information and stimulus opportunities come in.
City of Seattle Office of Economic Development will invest an additional $4 million to stabilize small businesses and economic opportunity nonprofits. The Small Business Stabilization Fund (SBSF) provides $10,000 grants to small businesses and economic opportunity nonprofits throughout Seattle who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. The Small Business Stabilization Fund Application will be open from November 9 - November 30, 2020.
The City of Seattle Department of Transportation is now offering streamlined, free temporary permits for outdoor cafes, retail merchandise displays, food trucks, and vending carts that are valid through October 31, 2021.They are also offering temporary street closures to support restaurants and retail operations. Please check out all of the new and extended permits to assist merchants and hospitality providers serve customers while meeting new guidelines.

The Seattle Fire Department offers a summary of code requirements as well as current exceptions for business owners who are already using or anticipating using tenting and heater to provide outdoor dining and shopping opportunities for customers.

In recognition of the Governor’s new temporary closure of dine in restaurant service and recognition of the profound impact on local businesses and employee, Seattle’s Department of Transportation is installing temporary load zones in support of local restaurants that are transitioning to take-out and delivery only service.
With the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the city of Seattle has announced expansion of free testing sites. Caution: the city is currently reporting wait times of up to 60 minutes. Strongly suggest checking out the website to ensure the latest information. 
Keep Your Business Safe

Since the pandemic started in Spring 2020, increases in burglaries continue to be of deep concern to merchants and the Magnolia Chamber. The Chamber's advocacy committee is meeting regularly with Seattle Police and elected officials to connect affected local businesses and residents with law enforcement professionals and policy makers. We offer the following safety tips to local merchants, business owners, and neighbors:

  • Make sure your business’s address and signage is visible from the street
  • Post emergency contact information at the front and rear of your business.
  • Ensure all doors can be locked with deadbolts.
  • Install latch guards no smaller than 11-inches over locks.
  • Windows should have secure locks and shatter-resistant glass.
  • Consider installing security film on vulnerable windows.
  • Remove expensive items from visible store displays.
  • Keep your business well-lit inside and out.
  • Leave registers open and obviously empty after closing.
  • Consider installing cameras and alarm systems.
  • Consider videotaping your current belongings and store items for evidence and insurance purposes.
  • Have mail stopped and held at the post office or forwarded to another location.
  • Check on your business regularly and work with neighboring business owners to keep an eye on others’ storefronts.
  • For carry-out businesses, move tip jars behind customer service counters and add additional signage to let customers know your business accepts tips
What other ideas/needs do you have?

Please let us know what other things that you as a business owner or service provider may need and/or how the Chamber can better share information and support you and your business. It takes our community to support our businesses, customers, and neighbors during some tough and potentially challenging weeks ahead. Jason can be reached at 206-618-1589 or email jason@discovermagnolia.org.

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