OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced the first group of grants approved for 501 very small businesses impacted by COVID-19 through the Governor’s Working Washington Small Business emergency grant program. Businesses with up to 10 employees in Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pacific, Pierce, Pend Oreille, San Juan, Skamania, Stevens and Walla Walla were awarded grants ranging from $566 – $10,000 to cover allowable costs including rent, utility bills, supplies, inventory and other operating expenses.

“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.”

“Getting this emergency funding to our local businesses as quickly and fairly as possible is our top priority and I greatly appreciate the huge effort by our team here in Grant County, along with our state partners at Commerce, to make this happen,” said Brant Mayo, Executive Director of the Grant County Economic Development Council.

“The impact of COVID-19 on businesses like ours is something we have never seen, or could imagine, since my family opened our store in 1938,” said Rob Owen, owner of Owen’s Grocery in Newport, WA. “I cannot express enough how much our community means to our family, and we look forward to serving them for generations to come.”

Additional grants currently in the final approval process will be announced soon.

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.