Important Update from Mayor Dana Ralph
Effectively immediately we have taken the following actions:
-We have closed City Hall, Centennial Center, the Police Department, the Shops, the Senior Activity Center, Kent Commons Community Center, Finance Customer Service, Permit Center, Clerks and the Municipal Court to the public.
-Most City employees are being directed to work remotely.
-We have cancelled all board and commission meetings.
-We have cancelled the City Council workshop and are moving Council's Committee of the Whole to a phone meeting.
-We are encouraging residents to not attend the Council meeting and instead submit public comment to email@example.com
-We have cancelled all City related travel and trainings
-Bars and dining establishments will remain closed but open for take out and delivery and we encourage residents to support our local small businesses.
Councilmembers & fellow employees,
Here’s an update on the Covid-19 Coronavirus situation in Kent this evening. Major changes from my last update are in bold:
- The mayor’s emergency proclamation remains in effect.
- Our Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) continues to work on recovery and return-to-work plans.
- The governor has extended most of his “stay at home” order through May. Construction and some other activities have resumed.
- Kent parks amenities remain closed; trails are open.
- Kent Commons, the senior center, teen center, and programs remain closed.
- ShoWare Center remains closed.
- Golf reopened last week.
- Schools are closed for the rest of the school year.
- Our buildings are locked at all times –CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
- We continue to issue permits and conduct inspections.
- Our Municipal Court remains closed. The court is working on a plan for online and some in-person hearings.
- Most office-based employees are working from home.
- Employees who are assigned to work from home are paid as if they had come into the office; employees who are assigned to work in the office need to take vacation to remain at home.
- Employees who have been assigned to work from home and who want to return to the office may return starting next week. Please contact your supervisor if you want to return voluntarily and, if your department approves your request, the department will coordinate with IT and give you a date. (It may be possible for some employees to split time between home and the office and impossible for others due to technology limitations.) There will be requirements for social distancing, self-monitoring of temperatures, and use of face coverings (masks) in some circumstances – please watch your email for specific guidance.
- Please remember to limit video streaming when working from home to save internet bandwidth.
- Most Teamsters employees returned to regular schedules this week. Home repair employees returned last week and golf employees returned last week. Social distancing measures remain in place.
- We confirmed with the governor that local governments have discretion to define which of their employees are essential.
- We’ve established protocols for what happens if an employee tests positive for coronavirus or has symptoms that could indicate coronavirus – including protocols for cleaning work areas.
- We had our first positive case in the city family – an employee at the Shops. We spoke with the employee, researched the employee’s work tasks and locations, conducted “contact tracing” of other employees/people with whom the employee may have had contact, guided other affected employees, and took steps to clean/disinfect the positive employee’s vehicle, tools, etc.
- Please stay home with a fever (100.4 or higher), cough, or shortness of breath.
- We’ve placed thermometers in work areas.
- You’re welcome to bring face coverings from home and wear them on the job.
- We expect employees to convert their meetings, including internal meetings, to remote meetings.
- Please visit other works areas only when absolutely necessary, maintain spacing of six feet between people, and of course wash your hands regularly.
- City Council meetings remain online and we accept public comment only by email/phone.
- We have canceled in-person board/commission meetings.
- We have canceled city-related travel while the governor’s order is in effect.
- We’ll announce the mayor’s budget savings strategy next Monday-Tuesday. It doesn’t include wage reductions but unfortunately includes some layoffs. We’ll send an all-users email Monday with the high-level strategy (including numbers of positions but not names of positions or people), department directors will make phone calls to impacted employees Tuesday morning, we’ll update union leadership Tuesday morning, directors will update their departments Tuesday morning-afternoon, and we’ll provide a comprehensive update to the city council Tuesday evening.
- You’ll recall we had asked department directors to identify cost savings of up to 20% (in 5% increments) of their departments’ portions of the General Fund and closely-related funds and to look at their capital budgets too. The Mayor’s Office took the lead on citywide cost saving ideas.
- Thank you to everyone who offered creative ideas in our online budget survey. Some ideas that came up several times include retirements, voluntary layoffs, temporary layoffs, and wage/hour reductions (often in exchange for additional leave days).
- The state is going to share up to $3.9M in federal CARES funding with the city. It can be used to reimburse Covid-19 expenses but can’t offset revenue loss. While it will help our budget situation, it won’t solve the problem.
- We’re taking steps to support struggling businesses, especially small businesses.
- Quarantine facility
- We know we have a role to play in the state and county’s response to coronavirus.
- We continue to monitor facility operations for public health and safety.
- We remain connected with local business owners.
Derek Matheson, Chief Administrative Officer
The safety and health, both physical and economic, of Kent residents, businesses and their employees is our top priority. We’ve compiled these resources to help keep you informed during this crisis and recover from these impacts as quickly as possible.
- Sign up for alerts from the official Washington State Coronavirus Response Page.
- Kent business owners with questions can contact the City of Kent Economic Development Division:
Bill Ellis - 206-573-6890
Michelle Wilmot - 253-275-7542
NEW! TAKE THE BUSINESS IMPACT SURVEY - Deadline May 29
This information is vital to inform our decision-making as we establish a structure to disburse economic relief payments to help small businesses. Your responses to this survey will be a huge help.
ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF & ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT
FEDERAL SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA) ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOADS (EIDLs) (Click for Spanish)
Small businesses, and private nonprofit organizations of any size are eligible to apply for up to $2 million in low‑interest loans to to offset economic losses caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apply online or receive disaster assistance via phone at 800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. SAVE YOUR PASSWORD - SBA does not have a password recall system. Approval notification is estimated at approximately three days.
- Paycheck Protection Program Primarily for payroll expenses, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides up to $10 million per small business in loan forgiveness for retaining employees. The loan forgiveness portion is dependent on keeping and paying employees or rehiring employees laid off in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. Contact your bank/lender to see if they’re offering PPP. See list of local SBA lenders here.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance - This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief for businesses experiencing difficulties that doesn’t have to be repaid. This complements the traditional SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program which has been in place since mid-March.
SBA Debt Relief - The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses which covers all principal, interest and fees on current and new SBA 7(a) loans made through September 27, 2020, for up to six months.
During this crisis, it’s extremely important to document financial losses using this Economic Injury Worksheet.
MAIN STREET LENDING PROGRAM
- This new program offers four-year loans to businesses that meet specific criteria and were in good standing before the coronavirus crisis. Businesses that have taken advantage of SBA's Paycheck Protection Program may also utilize this loan program. Principle and interest payments will be deferred for one year. See this guide for details.
OTHER LOW INTEREST LOANS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED NONPROFITS AND SMALL BUSINESSES
TAXES, FEES, DEFERRALS
- The Washington State Department of Revenue can provide extensions on taxes or waive penalties.
- PUGET SOUND ENERGY is offering assistance to small businesses including a halt to disconnections for non-payment as well as payment plan and new billing date options.
- Washington state is working to source and deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to support personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Demand far exceeds supply so the state is working to obtain PPE from all available sources, including private industry manufacturers and retailers.
- NEW! The PPE Exchange - a simple to use Dashboard to connect private sector sellers with private sector buyers. The user enters their own information and updates as needed.
NEW! FIKES Products - local source for PPE, 253-854-2439
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE for SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS from CULTURALLY/HISTORICALLY DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES - The Washington State Department of Commerce announced a new partnership with organizations that serve cultural and historically disadvantaged businesses and communities across the state. The organizations listed below are helping King County business. Please note that several of these are dedicated email addresses.
- Sister Sky, Inc. – Native American Small Businesses; Call 509-315-9808
- Tabor Business HUB - African American and community at large; Email or call 206-368-4042
- Ventures Nonprofit – Espanol; Email or call 206-352-1945
FREE BUSINESS ASSISTANCE WEBINARS
- Washington State's Small Business Development Center offers free webinars related to the COVID-19 pandemic to assist businesses with loans, recovery planning, and more.
- A repository of documents that fit the practical needs of many company leaders –from HR to CEO to Facilities – to build a Safe Work Plan for Back to Work.
- Impact Washington will provide free business-readiness assessments to ensure manufacturers comply with Phase 2 requirements. Get your facility on the schedule by contacting Impact Washington HERE or call 425-438-1146.
GOVERNORS ORDER TO CLOSE NON–ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
- Under an order by the Governor, businesses providing non-essential services must close from March 25 through May 4 except for those performing basic operations. Guidance on essential services is available here. Please complete this form for Business Re-Entry Registration using this registration link and registration guide.
ASSISTANCE FOR LAID OFF EMPLOYEES
The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, Shared Work, Partial Unemployment and Standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs).
ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition.
ESD’s SharedWork Progam allows companies to retain employees with a reduction in hours. The company pays for part of the hours, and then unemployment compensation can be utilized for the remainder of the work week hours.
ESD’s Temporary layoffs, standby and furloughs program allows a company’s laid off employees to avail themselves of unemployment compensation, without a need to look for new work if the company will rehire.
If COVID-19 disrupts a Washington business and causes a mass layoff or closure, ESD and its partners can respond with Rapid Response services and funding to help impacted workers get connected to unemployment benefits and re-employment services, including re-training, worker support services, and referrals to other social services.
ASSISTANCE FOR RESTAURANTS & THEIR EMPLOYEES
Restaurant Employee Relief Fund - Provides one-time $500 grants to employees who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 financially.
NEW! The Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation has created a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for individual workers and small businesses.
The Plate Fund - Provides $500 emergency relief grants to individuals in King County who have lost their jobs in the restaurant industry due to the COVID-19 crisis.
NEW! If you are a bartender who is unable to work and need financial assistance to cover basic needs, this grant opportunity is offered by the U.S. Bartenders Guild.
- Restaurants offering take-out/delivery If your information is missing or has changed, contact Michelle Wilmot at 253-275-7542.
- Puget Sound Regional Restaurant Map. Contact email@example.com for instructions on how to add your business to the map.
NEW! BUSINESSES INVITED TO JOIN “SAVING LOCAL” INITIATIVE
- We are joining the Kent Chamber of Commerce and our neighboring Chambers and cities in a “Saving Local” initiative to promote buying experiences and gift cards now that can be used later. The initiative will help drive cash to closed businesses or those operating at reduced capacity. This program is free for Kent businesses to participate – just provide a tangible deal that can be purchased now. Click here for details.
COVID-19 INFO SOURCES
OTHER BUSINESS INFORMATION SOURCES
BUSINESS OPERATION GUIDANCE
The quality of your drinking water is vital to the health of the Kent community, and we take our commitment to providing high quality water to our residents and businesses seriously. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. You can continue to use and drink water from the tap as usual.
Your drinking water is safe. The City of Kent monitors our water supply and the quality of our water continuously, and we test it daily. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Public Works Water Utility at 253-856-5600 and find more information here.
NEW - We're bringing the Kent Parks FUN directly to you and your family at home.
Join us online for Kent Parks At Home!
UPDATED: 8:00am, May 19
The Morrill Meadows Dog Park is now open. A sign is posted at the entrance to alert owners of new dog park rules and guidelines to keep our park users safe. Dog Park users are urged to practice social distancing, refrain from petting other dogs, and to bring their own water and pet waste bags. In addition, there is a 6 owner limit for each side of the dog park. If capacity is reached, please visit another time.
As of May 5, the boat launch and dock at Lake Meridian Park are now open for recreational fishing use. The boat launch at Lake Fenwick Park is also open.
Riverbend Golf Complex is now open!
As of May 18, we have returned to 4 players per group! If you have a tee time booked and would like to add more players to your existing reservation, please call the golf course directly at 253-854-3673.
Tee times are available to book online at www.riverbendgolfcomplex.com or over the phone. We are only accepting credit and debit payments at this time (no cash). In addition, customers will be required to provide their name and phone number to staff prior to playing.
Golf carts will be available, but will be restricted to one rider per cart, unless a minor is playing. Power carts will only be available from 5:30am – 5:00pm. Rental clubs will not be available at this time. Cups and holes on the practice greens will be eliminated. Putting greens will be available to those with a tee time within 30 minutes of their tee time. Flagsticks will remain in at all times; players will be educated to avoid touching the flagstick for any reason. All benches, bunker rakes and ball washers have been removed from the golf course and will not be available for use at this time.
We will be regularly sanitizing counter tops, door knobs, carts, push carts, cash registers, score posting kiosks, and all other frequently touched surfaces, including equipment used by Riverbend staff.
Kent parks and trails are open for walking, running, and enjoying nature.
Park visitors are asked to use open spaces and trails responsibly: practice social distancing (6 feet from anyone), bring hand sanitizer, and take all belongings and trash home. Closed amenities include playgrounds, sports courts (tennis, basketball, pickleball, wiffle ball, etc.), athletic complexes, restrooms, dog parks, skate parks and picnic shelters, etc. Most of these closed amenities are out in the open and cannot be fully secured or locked. Kent Parks is asking the public to honor this closure notice as part of the community’s collective response and individual responsibility to keep everyone safe. If it’s crowded and social distancing is difficult to maintain, please choose another trail or go to a different park.
Select park parking lots are open.
Town Square Plaza, located in downtown Kent on 2nd and Smith Street, has restroom facilities available for public use during regular operating hours.
For all updates on regional trails operated by King County, please follow King County Parks.
As a reminder, all Kent Parks programs, classes, events, and rentals remain CANCELED until at least the end of May. The Kent Commons Community Center, Senior Activity Center, and Teen Center remain CLOSED until at least the end of May. Refunds are being issued for all canceled programs, classes, and events. Please call 253-856-5000 for more information. Please note that phones are not being monitored as usual, but voicemails are being checked and returned Monday - Friday.
During this time, the Kent Home Repair program is limiting operations.
If emergency or essential needs arise by Home Repair clients, such as the loss of heat, the Home Repair team will utilize an outside contractor to assist in working through those critical issues. Updates will be made as information becomes available.
The Department of Commerce has started put together some resources for businesses at http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/links/crisis/covid-19-resources/, and the Governor’s office has as well at https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources/covid-19-resources-businesses-and-workers.
National Guard Q/A
· Guard members should monitor for instructions from their unit command regarding decisions about training.
· National Guard unit training is scheduled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to develop mission readiness among the disparate National Guard units across the country. The training is a requirement.
· The Washington’s Military Department and DOD are in discussions about how best to go about the training schedule under the current circumstances.
· If the units are sent to training as scheduled, the state will still have several thousand Guard members available for deployment here. Washington is also a member of a compact of Western States to share guard resources in times of need.
Paid Sick Leave
Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance
There are emergency rules.
King County Health
Washington State Department of Health
Hotline 1-800-525-0127 6am-10pm, 7 days a week
Office of Insurance Commissioner
Special open enrollment for medical insurance
Apply for basic assistance (DSHS)
Labor and Industries
Workers Compensation for those exposed on the job, for example first responders.
For Price Gouging
Please file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office at https://www.atg.wa.gov/file-complaint.
Children Youth and Families
(like daycares) - https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/coronavirus-covid-19
Protected Leave Laws
Employment Security Department COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits
Help for workers whose hours are cut, or businesses worried about having to lay off their employees:
Easy to read comparison of the various economic safety nets for workers during COVID-19 emergency: