First hit by problems with the manufacturing supply chain and drop in demand for exports due to the epidemic in China, the greater Seattle region now faces a massive hit to its tourism, retail, services, and hospitality sectors caused by the corona virus outbreak.

First hit by problems with the manufacturing supply chain and drop in demand for exports due to the epidemic in China, the greater Seattle region now faces a massive hit to its tourism, retail, services, and hospitality sectors caused by the corona virus outbreak.

But the collaborative effort of business and government could mean getting back to business much more quickly than expected.

Seattle’s largest employers listened to the advice of public health officials and voluntarily directed employees to work remotely to provide for social distancing. When remote work threatened the jobs of hourly employees who could not work from home, the companies agreed to pay them anyway.

Local small businesses dependent on the lunch trade around those companies began to suffer. Amazon pledged to donate $5 million to small businesses around its Seattle and Bellevue facilities that will be impacted. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue will be eligible to apply for cash grants. The City of Seattle also provided $2.5 million in emergency funding for affected small businesses.

The state relaxed the rules for receiving unemployment compensation and offers 12-16 weeks of paid family and medical leave, funded by a payroll tax on businesses with more than 50 employees. And the private and non-profit sectors are donating to provide operating grants to address the economic impact of reduced and lost work among immigrant communities and gig workers. Those funds now exceed $11.4 million in King County, Snohomish County and Pierce County have similar funds available.

The silver lining in what could be a $1 billion impact to our regional economy is that we have shown the world the power of public-private partnerships. We may not turn the corner this month, but we are all headed in that direction and planning together, sharing resources, innovating solutions, and recovering our economic health as soon as possible.

Thank you for helping our region respond to and recover from this historic event.

But the collaborative effort of business and government could mean getting back to business much more quickly than expected.

Seattle’s largest employers listened to the advice of public health officials and voluntarily directed employees to work remotely to provide for social distancing. When remote work threatened the jobs of hourly employees who could not work from home, the companies agreed to pay them anyway.

Local small businesses dependent on the lunch trade around those companies began to suffer. Amazon pledged to donate $5 million to small businesses around its Seattle and Bellevue facilities that will be impacted. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue will be eligible to apply for cash grants. The City of Seattle also provided $1.5 million in emergency funding for affected small businesses.

The state relaxed the rules for receiving unemployment compensation and offers 12-16 weeks of paid family and medical leave, funded by a payroll tax on businesses with more than 50 employees. And the private and non-profit sectors are donating to provide operating grants to address the economic impact of reduced and lost work among immigrant communities and gig workers. Those funds now exceed $10 million.

The silver lining in what could be a $1 billion impact to our regional economy is that we have shown the world the power of public-private partnerships. We may not turn the corner this month, but we are all headed in that direction and planning together, sharing resources, innovating solutions, and recovering our economic health as soon as possible.

Thank you for helping our region respond to and recover from this historic event.

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