March 26, 2020
Business and Community News
BUSINESS RESOURCE LIST: Instead of trying to keep track of all the updates we're sending out, the Port and Chamber have compiled a Business Resource List that will be posted on each of our websites tomorrow and updated as new information becomes available. Our heads are spinning from all the new information, but we will continue to work to consolidate it, pare it down, and explain it the best we can. See our in-progress Business Resource on the right.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS HALFWAY THERE in passing the largest stimulus bill in history. Detailed information is still coming out, but the highlights include direct payments to individuals, unemployment benefits for the self-employed, and a partially-forgivable SBA 7(a) loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses. Even though these programs are not yet in place, self-employed business owners can go ahead and apply for unemployment if they wish but will likely be denied in the first go around. This may be an important first step in eventually receiving benefits, so visit the Employment Security Department page to start your application. Persistence will be important in this process!

Here are two decent articles with information on the stimulus bill:

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT:  Because of the pandemic, employers are now required to provide additional family paid leave and sick leave to employees under certain conditions. This act is also designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar for dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees.
Links to the posters employers are required to hang or send to employees are listed on the Business Resources page above.

STILL WAITING to get application materials for the state micro-grant programs for businesses.

BUSINESS SUMMIT WEBINAR: Due to the virus upheaval, the Walla Walla Valley Chamber has changed up their Business Summit into a free webinar that all businesses are invited to attend on April 1 at 1:00 pm. They will have representatives from the Employment Security Department, the Small Business Development Center, and the US Small Business Administration as presenters. Click here to register.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Still only 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 in Columbia County.

COLUMBIA COUNTY PUBLIC TRANSIT has gotten approval from the Washington State Department of Transportation to provide a ssistance for deliveries of groceries and food. We're still trying to figure out how those groceries will get shopped and paid for. In the meantime, contact CCPT at 382-1647 if you need a ride.

PLEASE DON'T FLUSH WIPES: Our sewer system is made for toilet paper. Flushing other products causes trouble that is no fun! The City of Dayton has a Defend your Drains reminder.
Bored While You're Stuck at Home? Fill Out Your Census Form Online Now!
Did you know that for every person that does not fill out a census form, Columbia County loses almost $2,000 in federal funding per year? During the last decade, Columbia County left a lot of money on the table due to uncounted residents. Census counts are used for things like county road funding, farm bill funding, congressional district boundaries, and so much more.

By now you should have received either a paper copy of the census form or a postcard with a code directly linked to your address on it. You can fill out the census form online, and it only takes about 10 minutes. If you don't have a postcard with a code, you can still fill it out just by putting in your address.

The first census response rates were released today, and Columbia County had the second highest response rate in the state - 19.6%! That is great....but we've still got 80.4% of the county to go. If you fill it out now, no one will come knocking on your door in April.