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COVID-19 Small Business Resources

Columbia County Economic Team (CCET) is working to assist businesses in responding and navigating through the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting in economic disruption….and help plan for recovery.

Business survival and retention is a top priority. We all want to emerge from the other side of this with the ability o restore our businesses, livelihoods, and economy.

Reaching out countywide, Columbia County Economic Team will be communicating with you regularly.

Please bookmark us and visit often for updates.

PPE Store for Small Business

Get PPE for your small business here. Order Today!! Masks, Gowns, Sanitizer and Gloves

Keep your employees and customers healthy and safe – at an affordable price. Download your PPE order form here and send it back immediately to info@columbiacountyoregon.com. If received by 5 p.m. Thursday, your order will be available on Friday the next day, anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Columbia County Fairgrounds 4-H Building, Gate 2, 58892 Saulser Road, St. Helens.

Free disposable masks (limit 200 per week, per business) and quality anti-microbial masks, plus sanitizer and gloves.

This program brought to you as a service of Columbia County Board of Commissioners, CCET – Columbia County Economic Team, and the Columbia County Fair Board.

FAQ 

Columbia County Grants

$210,000 in Emergency Small Business Grants Awarded to business owners throughout Columbia County

Business Oregon and Columbia County provided funding for grants to assist 52 businesses and non-profit’s re-opening and recovery.

Fifty-two small businesses will receive grants from a total of $210,452.00 awarded this week through Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac) and Columbia County Economic Team (CCET). Grant notifications were sent last week following an evaluation period that began in late June. Checks are being sent this week.

“We know these business owners are glad to get some assistance dealing with the economic disruption of the COVID pandemic,” said Paul Vogel, Interim Executive Director of CCET. “These were compelling cases of immediate need made by the successful applicants from throughout the County”.

The Columbia County Board of Commissioners put up the initial $100,000 to help small businesses. Col- Pac and CCET used that investment to apply for a matching grant from Business Oregon, which ultimately provided $150,000 in two rounds of funding.

 Col-Pac and CCET created the grant administration according to Business Oregon’s guidelines and applications were advertised and accepted up until July 3rd, according to the plan. In order to ensure more complete and adequate information, the deadline was adjusted to accommodate the overall application pool. Applications were evaluated, additional information and verification were requested from many applicants, then recommendations were submitted to Business Oregon for approval.

“This was an extensive process for a new program that didn’t even exist three months ago,” said Mary McArthur, Executive Director of Col-Pac. “It’s so important to get the money out to businesses that need it. We’re pleased to be able to help and we thank all those who assisted, especially the Board of Commissioners and Business Oregon for investing to create the opportunity.”

Col-Pac, as an Economic Development District expects that it will receive an additional upcoming round of grant funding from Business Oregon that will not exclude business applicants that received federal CARES funding, either PPP or EIDL payments, which is different from the first round of grants.

Col-Pac and CCET reported they were able to fund nearly 90% of the grant applications in this round and are hopeful to provide even more grants in upcoming rounds.

Daily Updates

LOCAL

September 18, 2020

Enews

STATE

Masks, face shields and face coverings are currently required statewide for indoor public spaces (for example, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, personal services providers, restaurants, bars, retail stores, and more). In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

Children age 5 and up are required to wear a face covering. People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from the business if they cannot wear one.

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Governor Kate Brown Releases School Health and Safety Metrics

Metrics set strict health and safety standards for in-person instruction, with accommodations for young learners, remote and rural schools   

(Portland, OR) — Given the reality that COVID-19 will continue to impact Oregon students, schools, and communities throughout the 2020-21 school year, Governor Kate Brown today released new metrics to guide school district decisions about when it is safe to resume in-person instruction, and when a transition to comprehensive distance learning is necessary.

“The metrics released today will give our public schools, private schools, and communities the opportunity to make sound decisions based on the latest science and health data,” said Governor Brown. “They make a clear connection between the spread of the disease in a community, and statewide, and when a school may resume, or must halt, in-person instruction. 

“We are taking a cautious and careful approach that protects public health, just as we have over the past five months in responding to this disease. If we don’t do this right, then the impacts of COVID-19 on students and the very functioning of our schools could deepen existing disparities in opportunity and outcomes for our children, and widen racial and socioeconomic inequality in our society.”

Oregon school districts are currently developing plans for the coming school year using ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. The following metrics were developed by doctors and health experts at the Oregon Health Authority, working with education experts at the Oregon Department of Education and the Early Learning Division.

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: All Grade Levels and School Districts

In order to resume in-person instruction in any form, including hybrid instruction models when students are only sometimes in the classroom, the following conditions must be met:

County Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)

10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people over 7 days

Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

Statewide Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)

Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: K-3 Students and Remote and Rural School Districts

Under some conditions, in-person instruction can resume only for K-3 students and remote and rural school districts with fewer than 100 students. Younger students get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults. Younger students also need more in-person instruction to build the literacy and math skills critical for lifelong learning. Schools in remote and rural communities are less likely to contribute to the community spread of COVID-19 cases that cannot be traced and contained. The following conditions must be met for in-person instruction for K-3 students or for remote and rural students:

Fewer than 30 cases per 100,000 over 7 days

Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

COVID-19 is not actively spreading in the school community

School districts are in compliance with sections 1-3 of Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance

Transition Planning for Comprehensive Distance Learning
For school districts where in-person instruction is occurring during the school year, planning for a switch to comprehensive distance learning should take place, including training for staff and notification of the community, if one or both conditions are met:

20 cases or greater per 100,000 over 7 days

Test positivity of 7.5% or greater over 7 days

Comprehensive Distance Learning
All school districts must implement comprehensive distance learning if the following conditions are met:

30 or more cases per 100,000 over 7 days

Test positivity of 10% or greater over 7 days

Based on these metrics, with the increasing spread of COVID-19 in both rural and urban Oregon this summer, many, if not most, Oregon students live in school districts that will begin school in the fall by focusing on online distance learning or will have a hybrid model that combines remote online education and in-person classroom time. Districts across the state have been developing plans to provide high quality education to all students, including students of color, low-income students, students experiencing disabilities, and rural students––all students who were disproportionately impacted by the institution of comprehensive distance education last spring.

With more time for school districts to develop a planned response to COVID-19 for the coming school year, Oregon schools will be expected to work to address the diverse needs of students and their families and provide the best possible education for every Oregon student.

A recording of the Governor’s press conference from Tuesday, July 28, is available here.

A full transcript of the Governor’s remarks from Tuesday, July 28, is available here.

Updated guidance will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.

NATIONAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has created the Farmers to Families Food Box program to help workforces who have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities. The program will fund $3 billion to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

The Federal Reserve announced that it establishing a Main Street Lending Program to support small and medium sized businesses that were unable to access the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or that require additional financial support after receiving other relief. Main Street loans are not forgivable.

Coronavirus Funding Options

Small Business Association Funding Options

We know business owners have suffered significant economic loss during this pandemic, and we want to help by providing timely and relevant funding information Here’s an updated list of resources for loans and grant funding that are available during COVID-19. We encourage you to explore all options and to let us know how we can help.

For specific questions, please reach out to the local small business specialist here in Columbia County, Mark Ellsworth – ellsworth@portofcolumbiacounty.org.

Grants

Northwest Oregon Works – This is an additional funding option for businesses that can make PPEs, masks, or something essential in addressing the COVID-19 health and economic pandemic, and/or if you need more workers to do that.

Oregon Small Business Stabilization Grants

Finder.com – Local, State, Federal and Private Grants for Small Business Owners

Facebook Small Business Grant Program – Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. The application process is not open yet and we will share more details as they become available.

Pamplin Media Marketing Grant – Pamplin Media has established a $1million marketing grant fund to assist local businesses with their advertising during these challenging times.

Restaurant Employee Relief Funds

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (“Fund”) was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment.

Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Small Business Navigator

Small Business Solutions Video Series courtesy of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce

SBA Guidance & Resources

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Guidelines for Businesses and Employers

SBA Products & Resources

SBA Local Assistance

Join the SBA Relief Efforts

SBA Government Contracting

Small Business Development Center Resources

The PCC SBDC is available to assist you in assessing the appropriate actions for your business. Please email: sbdc@pcc.edu if you need assistance in this planning process, or if you have any questions regarding the guidelines.

SBDC COVID-19 Business Resources

SBDC Guide to Navigating a Business Crisis

SBDC PPP Factsheet

SBDC EIDL Factsheet

Information for Employers

This is an ongoing list of resources and guidelines for employers during COVID-19. We want to provide you with the most timely and relevant information to keep your employees safe, and to ensure that you are following guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.

State of Oregon Employment Department-  The health and safety of workplaces is of utmost importance to the Oregon Employment Department. This information provides general guidance to employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

This web page will be updated as more information becomes available. The Oregon Employment Department is working with partner agencies nationwide and the U.S. Department of Labor to ask for additional unemployment benefits options related to COVID-19.

Columbia County Worksource Office: 503-397-4995.
Please note: The office is currently staffed to receive phone calls but the lobby is not open to the general public.

Reduced Hours via Workshare. Work Share provides an alternative for larger employers who may be facing the prospect of a lay off situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial Unemployment Insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers’ reduced wages.

Permanent Layoffs: Rapid Response Assistance – If you are considering a long-term or permanent layoff of workers, contact the WorkSource center for rapid response assistance. Local Rapid Response teams can help you navigate through this challenging process and assist with the development and implementation of a transition strategy.

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidance for Businesses & Employers

Below are the recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel.
  • Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from designated countries with risk of community spread of Coronavirus, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.

Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Local Partners & Resources

Count on your local partners to be there for your business during these unprecedented times and to provide additional support as needed.

Northwest Oregon Works

On-the-job-training is a business service provided through the Northwest Oregon Worksource centers.
The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) On the Job Training (OJT) program beneficial to employers in Columbia County. On the Job Training (OJT) services are provided at no cost to the company. Info, FAQ and contacts here…

Local Credit Unions & Loan Assistance

Wauna Credit Union. – Wauna Credit Union is an SBA-approved lender. Click here to apply for the SBA PPP Loan.

Wauna is currently providing a variety of low-cost borrowing options, which may help contribute to your ability to cope and maintain the necessities of life for you and your families during and following the coronavirus pandemic:

 

InRoads Credit Union. – InRoads Credit Union is an SBA-approved lender. Current credit union members are eligible to apply through InRoads.

SBA Payroll Protection Loan Program – Round Two Applications

  • The SBA PPP loan program will again begin accepting applications Monday, April 27.
  • We expect this round of funding to again be depleted quickly.  Current InRoads business members should send an email to payrollprotection@inroadscu.org to receive a link to a secure application.
  • Completed applications will be processed in the order received although we cannot guarantee funding due to high demand nationwide.

Member Assistance

During this unprecedented time, InRoads continues to be a resource for our members and our communities. To help you navigate through any financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve put new programs in place including*:

  • Emergency Assistance Loans: A zero interest loan up to $2,500 and no payments for 90 days to assist existing InRoads members to pay bills, rent, cover groceries, or other financial needs. Click here to apply. 
  • Personal Loans: We’ve lowered the rates on new personal loans to help those who may be seeking a little extra security in their wallets right now. We’re also offering no payments for 90 days. Click here to apply. 
  • Skip Payment: If you have an existing InRoads loan that qualifies, you may be able to skip payments for two months with no skip payment fee.
  • Pay loans by phone: We are currently waiving all pay by phone fees.
  • Rewards Checking requirements: We will waive the 10 debit card purchases per cycle requirement to receive rewards during this time.
  • Business Assistance Loans: Email us at business.assistance@inroadscu.org to request assistance with your current InRoads business loan(s) during this time.

We are here to work with you. Have a need that’s not listed? Reach out via email at member.service@inroadscu.org, by phone at 503.397.2376, or our LIVE app and we’ll talk more.

Local Business Advocacy and Chambers of Commerce

Local Goverment Resources

Utilities

NW Natural Business Continuity Plan. NW Natural has activated its business continuity plans. Residential and small businesses will not be disconnected if they can’t make payments due to the impacts caused by COVID-19. Customers will continue to receive bills and past-due notices. But NW Natural will not send a final shut-off notice and disconnect service.

State Resources

Here’s a list of relevant state resources to help navigate your business through this crisis. We’ll keep this page updated and add or remove relevant and timely information as needed.

We encourage you to explore your options, and don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions. We are here for you – let us know how we can help!

Governor Kate Brown COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians

Oregon Health Authority

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

Business Oregon

Travel Oregon

Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Economic Development Association

Northwest Grocery Association Guidelines

 Ready to reopen? Here’s what you need to know – From SAIF

 

 

National & International Resources

Here’s a list of national resources to help navigate your business through this crisis, and to help you stay informed about COVID-19 at the national level  We’ll keep this page updated with timely and relevant information as we receive it.  

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For updates from the CDC, please see the following:

U.S. Government Resources

International Resources

Reach Us

P.O. Box 1653
St Helens, OR 97051

(503) 805-5139

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