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 firstname.lastname@example.org
-We have cancelled all City related travel and training
Councilmembers & fellow employees,
Here’s the latest update on the Covid-19 Coronavirus situation in Kent. New items 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.
- King County remains in phase 2 of reopening.
- Parks and trails (including play areas and restrooms) are open.
- The golf course is open.
- Kent Commons, the senior center, teen center, and most recreation programs remain closed.
- ShoWare Center remains closed for most indoor activities.
- City Hall campus buildings are locked at all times.
- Please don’t let the public into locked buildings!
- We expect to reopen public-facing counters in phase 3 (not including the upper floors of City Hall and Centennial Center). We’ll bring back staff who support these counters at the beginning of phase 3 and then reopen a week later so there’s time to identify and address any unexpected challenges.
- The Municipal Court is open.
- Most office-based employees are still working from home and we expect they will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future.
- 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. Please contact your supervisor if you want to return voluntarily and, if your department approves your request, your 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.)
- Please remember to limit video streaming when working from home to save internet bandwidth.
- Teamsters employees returned to regular schedules in May.
- Social distancing measures remain in place.
- We continue to issue permits and conduct inspections.
- 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’ve placed thermometers at building entrances.
- Please stay home with a fever (100.4 or higher), cough, or shortness of breath.
- Please wear a cloth face covering (mask) at work per the governor’s proclamation.
- Exceptions include if you’re alone in your own cubicle or vehicle, you’re working outside with six feet of distancing, or you’re in a meeting room where distancing is possible.
- Please contact HR to start a formal accommodation process under the Americans with Disabilities Act if you’re unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons.
- Please continue to convert your meetings, including internal meetings, to remote meetings whenever possible.
- 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 by email/phone.
- Board/commission meetings remain online too.
- We’ve reinstated city-related travel per the governor’s Safe Start order and we’ll make every effort to respect the wishes of employees who aren’t comfortable traveling.
- We announced the mayor’s budget savings strategy on May 19. It relies on use of fund balance (savings), reductions in transfers to capital projects, line item reductions, vacant position reductions, position freezes, three-month furloughs in the Recreation Division, and 11 occupied position reductions. The latter two categories were really hard decisions. Those in the last category worked through July 1 and then received a severance payment.
- The city council accepted about $3.9 million in CARES grant funding from the state. We’re using about $1M on a small business grant program and the reminder to reimburse Covid-19 expenses. Unfortunately the grant can’t offset revenue loss.
- The King County isolation & quarantine facility is now in “warm” status, meaning there aren’t any residents there at this time.
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
On June 19, King County was approved to move into Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start Plan, which immediately allows reopenings of more activities and businesses. Here is a list of what businesses are open and which remain closed.
Effective Friday, June 26, every Washingtonian in an indoor public space, or in an outside public space when unable to physically distance from others, will be legally required to wear a face covering.
- Those with certain medical conditions and children under the age of two are exempt. Children aged 2-4 are encouraged, but not required, to wear a face covering with adult assistance.
- Individuals may remove face coverings under certain circumstances, including while eating or drinking at a restaurant; while communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing; and while outdoors in public areas, provided that a distance of six feet is maintained from people who are not members of their household.
Employers must provide workers with appropriately protective facial coverings for the worker’s risk of exposure.
Per the Safe Start plan, all Washington employers are required to provide (at no cost to employees) and require the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate for the worker's risk of exposure. Cloth face coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone unless their risk profile dictates a higher level of protection.
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 email@example.com. 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
- The federal TAA program offers up to $150,000 in (50%) matching funds to U.S. businesses that have experienced damaging import competition as well as $30,000 (75%) matching funds for businesses under $1.5MM in revenue. The NW Trade Adjustment Assistance Center provides timely assistance in qualifying and employing the program.
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.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
- 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.
- 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.
FIKES Products - local source for PPE, 253-854-2439
Acorn Uniforms - local source for PPE, 425-284-0505
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.
- The Getting to Safe Toolkit was developed by Challenge Seattle, Washington Roundtable and Boston Consulting Group in partnership with the Snohomish County Health District. This reopening guide is aimed to be concise, attractive and suitable for small businesses and organizations countrywide. King County is anticipated to create a similar document soon. Please use this as sample guidance.
- 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.
Beauty Change Lives - $1000 grants for beauty professionals
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to add your business to the map.
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.
UPDATED: 6:00pm, June 29
Reminder: As part of our continued efforts to keep our community safe, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s SPLASH event. There will be no city-sponsored firework display this year. On July 4, Lake Meridian Park will close at 9:00pm and both parking lots will close at 7:30pm; after 7:30pm, parking lots will be exit only.
As of Friday, June 19, 2020, King County was approved for Phase 2 of Washington State’s Safe Start Plan. Kent parks, trails, boat launches, and fishing docks re-opened in Phase 1 and the modified Phase 1.5. Now that we have fully moved into Phase 2, more elements of Kent parks and outdoor recreation re-open today.
Please limit your stay so others can enjoy our parks as well. Sanitize hands before and after your visit, and continue to socially distance yourself from other park users. If social distancing is hard to maintain, please choose another park or trail to enjoy.
Effective immediately, the following amenities are now OPEN:
· SKATE PARKS
· CLIMBING PINNACLE/BOULDER AT ARBOR HEIGHTS 360
· BASKETBALL COURTS
· TENNIS COURTS
Please note that playgrounds are NOT sanitized.
The restrooms at Scenic Hill Park and Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park will continue to be closed at this time due to maintenance and repairs.
In Phase 2, Athletic Complexes remain CLOSED to the public and drop-in use. Organized team practices are allowed to resume as private rentals if players are limited to groups of five or less in separate parts of the field, separated by a buffer zone AND said practice can maintain a minimum of five feet between players with no contact. In addition, each league, organization, or club must publish and follow a "return to play'' safety plan prior to submitting for approval for use. As part of this plan, an on-site COVID-19 Safety Officer must be present during any organized practice; this person will communicate and oversee Return to Play policies, and provide both updates and reminders to all participants. Please note: parents, siblings, and household members are not allowed to congregate on the sidelines during any organized practices. To rent space at a Kent Parks Department Sports Complex, call 253-856-5000.
Kent Parks summer events and programs have been canceled throughout the remainder of Summer 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions and public safety. For more details, read the May 28 press release. Canceled programs and events include:
- The Summer playground program and Funtastic Fridays at select parks throughout the City, including the summer meals program
- Summer day camp and sleep-over camps
- Specialty day camps – including Science, STEM/TECH, Dance, Art, Cooking, LEGO, Cheer, Music, Skyhawks, sports camps, etc.
- The HERO mobile recreation program
- The life-guarded summer beach program at Lake Meridian
- Adaptive recreation programs for individuals with disabilities
- T-ball/Tossball, boys baseball, girls fastpitch, and youth summer soccer leagues
- Fitness, wellness, enrichment and other programs and classes
- Senior programs, trips and drop-in activities, as well as the Senior Activity Center’s deli café lunch program
- Community art programs and art installations
- All summer events and community gatherings, including the 4th of July SPLASH, Cornucopia Days 5K and the Kent Summer Concert Series.
The Kent Commons, Teen Center and Senior Center remain closed until further notice. Kent Parks staff is continuing to process refunds for all applicable programs and rentals.
Riverbend Golf Complex is now open! The golf course is operating under a social distancing model. For more information, or to book a tee-time, please visit www.riverbendgolfcomplex.com or call the golf course directly at 253-854-3673.
Please continue to check back here, or visit us on Facebook for updates. We will continue to update information as it changes.
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: