Local small businesses get emergency grants to survive COVID-19 closures

Nearly 230 jobs at 77 small businesses in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties received the support of the state’s small business emergency grant program, according to the state Department of Commerce.

Restaurants, wineries, bakeries, childcare, health care, auto repair, clothing, fitness, manufacturing, and salon businesses were among first to receive state emergency assistance grants, according to Commerce.

A total of 31 businesses in Grays Harbor County and 46 in Pacific County were among those announced in the first group of grant approvals Tuesday, designed to keep small businesses afloat during COVID-19 related impacts. The initial 500 grants issued statewide ranged from $556-$10,000 to cover allowable costs for businesses with up to 10 employees, including rent, utility bills, supplies, inventory and other operating expenses.

In Grays Harbor County 31 businesses were granted a total of $184,300, allowing the retention of 93 jobs that otherwise could have been lost, according to the department. According to Commerce’s breakdown, the businesses included nine retail establishments, seven restaurants, three health care businesses, three salons, two auto repair businesses, and one each of the following: construction company, fitness facility, trucking company, social service, insurance business, tree service, and manufacturing company.

In Pacific County, 46 businesses received grants totaling $154,555, which allowed for the retention of 134 jobs. Commerce said, as of Tuesday, grantees included 12 retail establishments, 10 restaurants, seven construction companies, five hospitality establishments, three farms, two health care businesses, two manufacturing companies, one fitness facility, one campground, one landscaping business, one auto repair business, and one fishing company.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been profound, and today I am pleased to report the first of $10 million in grants are on the way to help some of our smallest Main Street businesses keep their doors open and keep Washingtonians working as we continue to reopen our economy safely,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“These grants support very small businesses, many of which have not been able to access federal business assistance programs,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “We know this is not enough to meet the need. We are focusing where we know funds will immediately recirculate and strengthen communities, and we continue seeking more resources to help small businesses survive and innovate as we all prepare for a ‘new normal’ in the aftermath of coronavirus.”

The grants are funded with $10 million from the Governor’s Economic Development Strategic Reserve Fund – $5 million from the Working Washington strategic reserve fund and an additional $5 million from the state’s $200 million COVID-19 emergency response package approved by the Legislature in March, according to the Commerce statement.