March 23, 2020
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COVID-19 Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
COVID-19

BREAKING: Gov. Inslee set to announce new 'enhanced strategies' in address tonight

Gov. Jay Inslee will address the state tonight at 5:30 p.m. on the novel coronavirus. The announcement will reportedly include "enhanced strategies to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak," although details of the strategy weren't immediately announced. The News Tribune has the story. TVW will live-stream the address.

President declares a 'major disaster' in Washington

President Donald Trump on Sunday declared a "major disaster" in Washington and several other states hard-hit by the COVID-19 virus. He approved calling out the National Guard, although it's not clear how troops would be used in Washington. Every part of Washington is also eligible for SBA disaster loans.

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AWB survey finds that 81% of employers have been affected by COVID-19

A survey of AWB members found that COVID-19 has already had a significant impact on Washington's employers, especially small businesses. More than 700 employers responded to AWB's survey last week, with more than eight in 10 reporting impacts already from the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it.

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Employer resources highlighted in second of AWB's series of COVID-19 calls with experts

From registering your business as essential, to applying for loans and unemployment insurance, state and federal officials covered a wide range of practical tips for Washington employers on a webinar today. More than 1,200 people logged on to hear the latest about the extraordinary public health crisis that is impacting all Washington communities.

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Help for small business expands slightly, but major relief has yet to come through

Many small business in Washington and across the country have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. These employers need help now, supporters say. Although some new grants were announced last week, major state and federal relief has yet to materialize.

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Manufacturers step up to help produce medical supplies, from N95 masks to ventilators

Washington manufacturers are pillars of their communities and our state economy. Now they are also helping to save lives. AWB put out a call last week for manufacturers who can help produce much-needed medical supplies, and across the state, employers stepped up. From distilleries making hand sanitizers to high-tech firms ramping up to make ventilators, manufacturers are helping during this difficult time.

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Federal Issues

Employers have new obligations for paid leave under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On Wednesday the president signed into law bipartisan legislation entitled the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), just days after it passed the House and Senate. The FFCRA goes into effect on April 2. K&L Gates has a new analysis to help employers understand its requirements and modify employee leave practices that may not fit with the new law.

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Federal tax filing deadline extended to July 15

The old income tax filing and payment deadline of April 15 has been extended for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IRS deadline is now July 15, regardless of the amount owed.

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Other News

Boeing announces two-week closure in Puget Sound region, beginning Wednesday

Boeing will suspend its Puget Sound factory operations and maintenance operations at Moses Lake for the next 14 days. While shut down, Boeing will conduct "additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work."

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Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib announces he will not run for reelection, opening up statewide elected position

In a surprise announcement last week, first-term incumbent Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib announced that he will be leaving his position at the end of his term to enter the Society of Jesus. His departure means a rare opening in a statewide race with no incumbent. Several prominent elected officials have already announced they are considering a run.

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Virtual Workforce Summit brings together information on COVID-19 and more

Top workforce leaders didn't originally plan to cover COVID-19 at AWB's Workforce Summit, but when the popular event went virtual last week, the expertise of the panelists who came together online were just what attendees needed.

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AWB Events & Resources

HR & Employment Law Webinar on April 1: Wage and Hours

Learn about the latest developments in federal, state and local wage and hour laws so that your organization can focus on compliance and avoid administrative claims during AWB's next HR & Employment Law webinar on April 1. There will be more relevant topics in the months ahead, including ways to properly handle performance evaluations, the latest on non-competition agreements, and more. Register online for this and other timely webinars!

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Employer resources



They Said It

Manufacturers to the Rescue

"The whole idea is if this is our time, we're going to rise and run." ~ Jeff Kaas, owner of Kaas Tailored in Mukilteo. He has converted his furniture design shop into a production facility for surgical masks and face shields for his local Providence hospital in Everett. He's also shared his design files for free on his website so any manufacturers can do the same thing. So far the files have been used in 25 states and Europe. He's made the conversion at a cost to his bottom line, and isn't even sure if his company will be able to stay in business. For now, he's doing this on his own company's dime.




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Be There for Local Business


In this unprecedented time of coronavirus, we need to be there for local businesses

By Maribel Perez Wadsworth and Kevin Gentzel, USA Today

The safety measures that have forced us indoors and away from others to help stop the spread of COVID-19 are the right thing to do. We're confident our strength and resilience will carry us through. But we also recognize our small business owners need us more than ever as they take their own precautions.

To emerge from this with our communities strong and intact, we need to ensure that what make them special -- the coffee shop down the road, the local car dealership and our neighborhood music teachers -- are able to stay afloat.

While we may not be able to give them our patronage in person right now, there is much we can do to show our support.

Visit your favorite restaurant's website and purchase gift cards for yourself and others to keep some money flowing to their bottom lines. If those restaurants are still offering takeout or delivery, make a point to order from them now and again soon. And get gift cards for massage studios, arts and crafts stores, local jungle gyms and myriad other businesses.

If your local shops sell their merchandise online, make purchases -- even if the goods won't be available right away.

If you're shopping online for things you'll need while in self-quarantine, like home exercise equipment or activities for the kids, seek out local businesses to make these purchases...

Read the full column in USA Today
Speak Up for Clean Power


Don't let Snake River dams be a coronavirus casualty. Call in to save them

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

In our community-wide effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, we must not become so focused on the pandemic that we neglect other, critical issues facing the Tri-Cities.

Of upmost importance is protecting the Snake River dams, which continue to be in jeopardy.

Last week's time for phone-in comments on the recently released, federal draft Environmental Impact Statement has come and gone, but there are three more scheduled over the next two weeks, and Tri-City participation is crucial.

Considering many people have hunkered down in a semi-quarantine, this could be a good way to spend some time. Why not prepare a statement and send in your testimony, either online, by mail or by calling it in?

Knowing you are helping to protect reliable power production and the region's economy could be invigorating. And it could take your mind off the disease for a little while...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald