Business Resources

Statement from Commissioner LeVine regarding the new federal stimulus package (posted 12/21/2020) 

Statement from Commissioner LeVine regarding the new federal stimulus package 

“We are grateful that Congress has extended, expanded and updated the unemployment benefits on which so many Washingtonians and their families rely. The threat of these benefits going away at the end of December was terrifying, and this brings much needed hope and relief for the New Year. 

“We will work around the clock and as hard as we can to implement this new legislation as quickly as possible as we know that these benefits provide a critical lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians. However, it’s important for people to know that the law made critical changes to the programs and there are many complexities to navigate and resolve. Like all states, we must receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor to administer the law and put the provisions of the Act in place 

We will provide updates through direct claimant communication, the COVID-19 page on esd.wa.govoutreach to the media and our social media channels in the coming days and weeks as we learn more. Current claimants should continue to submit weekly claims as usual and look out for more updates from us."

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a four-week statewide set of restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country (in effect 11/17/2020-1/4/2020)

  • The full proclamation is available here.
  • The full guidance page is available here.

New COVID-19 Restrictions

Business resource reminders. As small businesses navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s helpful to remember the Small Business Administration provides free one-on-one consultation. Their Resource Partner Network connects business owners with professional advice. Connect with experienced local advisors and get judgement-free advice at no cost.

In addition, a team of state agencies hosts a monthly webinar series with experts who discuss information specific to Washington small businesses. A panel of state and federal partners respond to live Q&A regarding unemployment insurance, returning employees to the workplace, small business relief funding, workplace safety measures, and other topics important to employers. The next webinar will be held on September 9 at 1:30 p.m. There is also a Spanish-language webinar on August 27 at 4 p.m.

Reopening Guidance

Face coverings: your questions, answered. 

  • Washingtonians must wear face coverings in all public spaces, and may be refused service at businesses if they don’t wear one. The state Department of Health and the state Joint Information Center are continuing to provide updated information, FAQs and resources about the state’s face covering requirements. The state’s coronavirus response website outlines requirements for employers, guides for businesses, details on who may be exempt and answers to common questions.

Temporary Closure of Retail Food Establishment

COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers: On May 4th, 2020 Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-25.3 and outlined the “Safe Start” plan, a phased approach to re-open Washington’s economy. Under the plan, businesses and activities will re-open in phases with adequate social distancing measures & health standards in place. Businesses may also need to meet additional requirements developed specifically for their industry.

Planning Guidance for Food Service Establishments

Guidance for Food Establishments During the Temporary Closure

Business and Workers- weekly update newsletter: The state Economic and Resiliency Team has launched a weekly newsletter to provide news and information to help businesses and workers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The newsletter provides information on unemployment insurance, the announcement of a Business Response Center to answer general business inquiries around financial help, information about the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program, and more.

  • September 2, 2020 Update: The state Risk Assessment Dashboard maps statewide virus activity metrics. Several documents have been updated regarding Safe Start guidance. The "What's Open" page on describes permissible gatherings and business activity in each Safe Start Phase. Read more details about updates and changes at the link above.
  • August 27, 2020 Update:
  • August 20, 2020 Update:
  • August 13, 2020 Update: The Employment Security Department (ESD) and workforce partners host a number of resources for workers and businesses. Unemployment and re-employment services, information on job and training opportunities and resources to maintain a skilled workforce can be found on ESD's Return to Work page. The job search requirement for unemployment benefit claimants remains suspended through Sept. 1. On Aug. 8, the Trump Administration issued a memorandum that referenced a program for lost wage assistance to eligible claimants. Washington state is assessing the Presidential Memorandum. Read more details about updates and changes at the link above.
  • August 6, 2020 Update: On July 28, it was announced that indoor service at taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries was to be prohibited. A July 31 update clarified that such indoor service is prohibited unless certain food service is provided. On July 31, Gov. Inslee issued a clarification of regulations affecting food and liquor service establishments. Business activity guidance for indoor fitness and training has been updated to clarify face covering requirements, adjusted occupancy limits, and allows for a greater variety of sport and fitness training activity to take place. "Indoor fitness and training" does not apply to pools, sporting activities, or outdoor group fitness classes. The Washington State Department of Health's (DOH) COVID-19 Behavioral Health Group Impact Reference Guide describes normal mental and emotional impacts that may manifest in the workplace. Read all of this and more at the link above. 
  • July 30, 2020-coming soon.
  • July 23, 2020 Weekly Update: The Washington State Department of Health issued a dismal COVID-19 Situation Report, concluding that transmission is accelerating statewide and will continue to do so absent decisive preventative action. CARES Act information, unemployment, face coverings and more.
  • July 15, 2020 Weekly Update: As of July 7, businesses must require all customers and visitors to wear a face covering and post signage about the required use of face coverings. Businesses must also post signage strongly encouraging customers and clients to wear cloth face coverings. Some exceptions are made for individuals with medical conditions or disabilities that complicate the use of face coverings.
  • July 8, 2020 Weekly Update: Masking and COVID-19 notification requirements for businesses, face coverings in the workplace, how to address unmasked customers and more.
  • July 1, 2020 Weekly Update: not available
  • June 25, 2020 Weekly Update: 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. The Paycheck Protection Program, disease activity, unemployment and return-to-work programs and more.
  • June 17, 2020 Weekly Update: Department of Health situation report shows increased virus activity: Significant increases seen in Eastern Washington, some milder spokes noted in Western Washington.
  • June 10, 2020 Weekly Update: New Phase 3 Business Safety Plan Template Released, paycheck protection program and more.
  • June 3, 2020 Weekly Update: The Safe Start plan will open economic activity based on local public health conditions. The new dashboard illustrates a county-level picture of local conditions and readiness to reopen. Keymetrics in Phase advancement are disease activity, testing capacity, healthcare system readiness, case investigations, and danger to high-risk populations. Additional Resources: Small Business Requirements and Resources Webinar by the state’s Small Business Liaison Team, where to submit questions on workplace safety, Safe Start phases, relief programs, paid sick leave, unemployment, and more.
  • May 20, 2020 Weekly Update: The Employment Security Department (ESD) has detected a dramatic rise in imposter fraud, the Employment Security Department has published Employer FAQ and Worker FAQ to address common questions as businesses resume operations, and new, expanded criteria may allow 10 more counties to reopen on an accelerated schedule. Adams, Spokane, Mason, Thurston, Lewis, Clark, Clallam, Kitsap, Island, and San Juan counties are eligible to apply for county variances under the expanded criteria.
  • May 13, 2020 Weekly Update: Guidance for phases, 8 counties jump to Phase 2 in "Safe Start" Reopen Process, new Contact Tracing Initiative announced, fraudulent unemployment claims are on the rise and more.
  • May 6, 2020 Weekly Update: Governor Jay Inslee on Monday announced the state’s Safe Start plan, a four-phase approach to re-opening Washington’s economy.The state is currently in Phase 1, which includes drive-in spiritual services with one household per vehicle, auto/RV/boat/ORV sales, retail open for curb-side pick-up orders, car washes, landscaping, and pet walking.
  • April 29, 2020 Weekly Update: Gov. Jay Inslee has announced the state’s first steps to ease certain COVID-19 restrictions including allowing certain low-risk construction projects to restart and allowing the partial re-opening of some outdoor recreation activities.
  • April 22, 2020 Weekly Update: Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday laid out his vision for the eventual safe return to public life amid the COVID-19 outbreak.The governor in his address described the state’s approach for the gradual return to public life. Depending on health projections for the spread of the virus, some distancing restrictions may be in place for weeks or months to come, he said.
  • April 15, 2020 Weekly Update: More than 170,000 new jobless claims were filed in the state for the week ending April 4 – seven times the peak during the height of the Great Recession. Unemployment checks from the state are going to workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in record time with an estimated $150 million in benefits paid since the crisis began.

For Businesses


Financial Information

For Employees

  • Employment Security Department
  • Washington State Department of Labor & Industries: Paid Sick Leave
  • Did you get your Federal Stimulus? The IRS is committed to helping you get your Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible. The payments, also referred to by some as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees. 

    • Some scammers are trying to take advantage of people. Remember—the government will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. No fees. No charges. No nothing. The government will not call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer. For more information:

Employee Grants