Our hearts go out to the many individuals and businesses in Whatcom County impacted by the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Employers of all sizes and sectors should carefully monitor the situation and take steps to protect the health of their workers, their clients, and their businesses. Please remember, it is important to document business impacts as the situation is unfolding, both for insurance purposes and for future relief efforts by state and federal agencies. There are a growing number of resources for our business community to stay informed and prepared (some of which are listed below).
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood
signed an order on March 19, 2020 extending payment deadlines for City utility, B & O tax, and lease payments, and waiving corresponding late penalties.
Port of Bellingham
Economic Development Recovery webpage
Business Expansion into the Sidewalk and Street
The City has an established permit process for use of the sidewalk and right-of-way for commercial purposes. Businesses who need additional space to accommodate reopening under COVID protocols are encouraged to use this tool to expand into the sidewalk and street, provided safety and passage for pedestrians can be maintained/enhanced. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Green Cone Program
The Green Cone Program is a collaboration between the City of Bellingham, Historic Fairhaven District and Downtown Bellingham Partnership. The cones provide a visual cue showing customers which restaurants and retail businesses are operating and open in Fairhaven and Downtown. Check out the flyer for more information.
City of Bellingham economic relief
On March 20, Mayor Fleetwood ordered the
following relief measures take effect immediately to help ease financial pressure created by COVID-19 response:
Offering payment plans, waiving late payment penalties and
suspending water shutoffs for approximately 27,000 utility customers, ensuring no customers face having their water and sewer services disrupted due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19.
Waiving rent for small businesses and nonprofits leasing City properties, including leased space in the downtown parking structure, at Boulevard Park, the Sportsplex, and other City properties. The waiver is for April and May rent. It applies to tenants whose ability to pay rent is negatively impacted by the reduced economic activity levels associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allowing businesses that file quarterly to defer first and second quarter business and occupation (B&O) tax returns and payments until October 31, 2020.
Other relief resources
Essential Business Inquiries
Economic Recovery Dashboard
- The City of Bellingham created this dashboard that provides current countywide statistics related to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in Whatcom County.