July 2020 COVID-19 in Washington County

Face Coverings Required Statewide Effective July 1st

Face coverings are required for indoor public spaces in every county effective July 1st. Children under 12 years of age, as well as people with a disability or a medical condition that prevent them from wearing a face covering, are not required to wear one. An updated guide with requirements for various businesses is available here.

Updated information on Oregon guidelines and more news is available on the state website here.

Governor extends state of emergency to September 4

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, her office announced on Tuesday. The state of emergency is now in place through September 4.

The state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the governor has issued in connection with COVID-19, including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential protections and orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect, the governor’s office says.

Testing sites green logo

Testing sites

Washington County web page with extensive information on COVID-19 testing sites and requirements.

PDX ReStore

Washington County offers a second grant opportunity for small businesses

Wednesday, July 8-Friday, July 10, see below for details

The county has just announced the next round of small business economic assistance grants of $3,000 each. The application period opens on Wednesday, July 8. Applications will be accepted until 5 pm, Friday, July 10, or until 10,000 applications are received, whichever comes first. Links to the applications will be available on the County’s Business Recovery website: co.washington.or.us/bizrecovery.

Economic Relief green logo: hand holding money

The Washington County Board of Commissioners (BCC) knows that small businesses continue to struggle as we slowly reopen to a new way of doing business in the foreseeable future. The state’s guidance and protocols, as well as continuing physical-distancing practices, have altered all types of businesses modes of operation, and previous phases have significantly impacted many businesses revenues. Reopening to a modified business landscape after losing significant revenues is difficult.

Using funds from the county’s disbursement of federal assistance dollars, the BCC agreed to make another round of grants of $3,000 available through a scored application process. The County’s program will be open only to businesses located in unincorporated Washington County. The County has provided funds to cities to create local business assistance programs for businesses located within their jurisdictions.

Because we are focusing on small businesses directly impacted by the COVID-19, and because we are using restricted federal dollars through Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, eligibility criteria are complex. Eligible businesses must:

  • Be physically located in unincorporated Washington County (outside cities).
  • Have been closed by the “Stay Home. Save Loves” executive order or have lost 30% or more in revenue in any one month since March 2020 (compared to the same month in 2019).
  • Be individually owned, if a franchise.
  • Been in operation since March 1, 2019.
  • Be a for-profit business.
  • Be registered with the state or be exempt from the registration requirement.
  • Be current on all federal, state and local taxes as of Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Be compliant with all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Eligible businesses must not:

  • Have had more than 25 full-time employees at any one time in the last 12 months.
  • Have received a grant or loan from Washington County or the Washington County Visitors Association since March 1, 2020.
  • Be a passive real estate holding company or other entity holding a passive investment in a small business without operational ties to that business.
  • Have had more than $5 million in 2019 gross revenue.
  • Be an adult-oriented business or derive a majority of income from gambling activities.

All eligible applications will be scored on a variety of criteria. It is our expectation that we will again have more applicants than funds in this round. All small-business owners are encouraged to apply.

Only one application will be accepted for any one business owner. A business owner may apply on behalf of any business in which they have any ownership stake, but may not apply on behalf of a second or any subsequent business. If that same person owns less than 51% of another business that second business may apply under another owner’s name.

We are hoping to spread the word about this program quickly, before the application period opens, so that business owners can get information together to prepare to apply. To document revenue loss, we will require documentation of revenue for the same month in 2019 and 2020 (e.g., March 2019 and March 2020 revenue). There will also be questions related to industry type, years of operation, gross revenue, number of employees, and information related to the primary business owner’s level and sources of income.

To help us administer this program, the County is continuing to partner with Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO). MESO is a Community Development Funding Institution focused on providing opportunities to businesses that are traditionally hard to bank.

Washington County funds Business Recovery Centers

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved about $500,000 to fund four Business Recovery Centers on June 2. The Business Recovery Centers are being managed and staffed in partnership with Adelante Mujeres, Beaverton Chamber of Commerce, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, and Tualatin Chamber of Commerce. The funding comes from the County’s $104 million federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“As a County, we need to find multiple ways to help our business community,” said Jerry Willey, Washington County Commissioner, District 4. “One of the most important things we can do is get information, resources, and assistance into the community quickly. Working with our expert partners, we know our funds will be used to do just that.”

The Business Recovery Centers are open from 8 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday. Staff will provide businesses in Washington County with free, one-on-one assistance, information and resources necessary to help owners stabilize and reopen their businesses. Visit businessrecoverycenters.org, for resources in English and Spanish, for locations, and contact information. The centers will also provide assistance in other languages, as needed.

“All of our business community has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maribel De Leon, Director of Microenterprise Programs, Adelante Mujeres. “A major step in helping business owners in these difficult times is to open our doors and let them know that they are all welcome. These centers, with bilingual staff, will be ready to assist businesses in all industries and of all sizes.”

In addition to supporting the Business Recovery Centers, the Board approved a framework for more CARES Act funding to build on existing efforts to recover from the pandemic. CARES Act funds are restricted to necessary expenses arising due to the current public health emergency.

“Washington County is committed to helping our community recover from this unprecedented pandemic,” said Pam Treece, Washington County Commissioner, District 2. “We continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to make sure that the people and businesses who call Washington County home can meet these economic challenges.”

In May, the County’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Program provided 102 grants to Washington County businesses. Loans are also being processed through the County’s partnership with Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) and Craft 3. The County’s partnership with Worksystems Inc. is providing direct technical assistance to businesses going through the reopening process.

For more information, visit Washington County Business Recovery. For guidance on COVID-19 response and state requirements, visit Workplace Guidance Resources.

Employment in Washington County

By Brandon Schrader | Workforce Analyst | Oregon Employment Department

While Washington County and Oregon saw modest job gains over the last month, COVID-19 continues to have a pronounced impact on our economy. Employment grew by 900 jobs from April 2020 to May 2020, recapturing just 3 percent of losses due to COVID-19 in the prior month. Despite these monthly gains, employment levels are 9 percent lower than May 2019. Increased employment in leisure and hospitality, construction, and wholesale trade were largely cancelled out by losses in government, manufacturing, and information which helps explain why total monthly employment grew by only 0.3 percent. Following a similar trend, the unemployment rate barely changed from 12.2 percent in April 2020 to 12.0 percent in May 2020, meaning nearly 39,000 Washington County residents remain unemployed. To learn more, please follow this link.

A positive change of pace comes from Zillow Research in this month’s graph! This data tracks average home values, which have been steadily increasing in both Oregon and Washington County since the Great Recession. Although there is uncertainty surrounding the economy and markets since COVID-19 began to impact Oregon, home prices have remained stable. From May 2019 to May 2020, home values increased by 3.4 percent for Washington County and 4.0 percent in Oregon. More information can be found by going here.