COVID-19 | !UPDATED! | Resources for Local Workers and Small Businesses

Updated: Mar 19

Rise Up Belltown is working to get updated, accurate information about COVID-19 to as many affected workers and business owners as possible, and we could use your help.

Please share this post with anyone you know whose job or business has been (or might be) impacted. This post will be regularly updated with accurate, vetted information.




As a first order of business, you can help yourself and your community by staying informed and up-to-date from official, vetted sources of information. These include the CDC, Washington Public Health, the Governor’s office, King County Public Health, and the Seattle Mayor’s office (scroll down to the latest updates). For supporting artists specifically, the ArtsFund has some great advice.

If you are concerned you have symptoms, do not immediately go to urgent care. Call your provider, or call the ER/Urgent Care, or if you don’t have anyone’s number then call King County’s coronavirus line at: 206-477-3977 or (if that line is busy) you can try 1-800-525-0127.

We are also encouraging people to get directly connect to their elected representatives, who I can tell you personally are working around the clock to respond to this crisis. You can sign up here for County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles regular updates, which are a great resource. You should also follow Councilmember Andrew Lewis here.

***this is a rapidly evolving post, so stay tuned for more links to be added, both for elected leaders and for resources**


Though it hardly needs repeating, the economic impact of COVID-19 has been swift and merciless for hourly workers, artists, musicians, service industry and gig workers, as well as for venues, restaurants, bars, and retail – just to name a few.

Hundreds of people across Seattle have already lost their jobs, and hundreds more are already under-employed as a result of lost wages, large event closures, and social distancing measures. Dozens of businesses across Seattle have already closed permanently, and the trend is expected to continue.

This is no laughing matter. People and businesses will need serious and sustained assistance. If not, an exponential increase in local homelessness could soon include your bartender, your Lyft driver, your barber, and your entire neighborhood pub – just to name a few. That has consequences not only for broader economy, but also for the spread of COVID-19 itself, as those without houses have fewer options to self-quarantine.


I realize that many of us in the service and gig economies are often reluctant to ask for help, as we work every day for our livings and take pride in what we accomplish. That’s very cool of us and all, but now would be an excellent time to get over that particular hang-up.

The math is pretty basic: Accepting financial assistance that will allow you to pay rent, buy food, and exist in the world is a genuine patriotic act during times of crisis. By ensuring you have the ability to spend money locally, you are ensuring that you are a benefit to your economy. Be the benefit. Get the help you need.

(this list of resources will be updated regularly. if you know of resources that are not listed, please send them to us and we will include them in this list)


We know that all these lists can be overwhelming, and that it can often be hard to know where to start. As things progress, we will work to trim our lists below as a way to highlight particularly useful links. If you need personal help, you can contact us here. In the meantime, we want to get as much good info out to people as possible, so please make use of these other lists as well. We know there is lots of repetation among lists, but step one is getting everyone access to the information. Thank you for sharing!

Northwest Folklife List of Resources Artist & Community Resource List
Seattle Church of House Music Covid-19 Community Resource Guide
Artist Trust Growing List of Resources in Response to COVID-19
King County Creative COVID-19 News and Information

***Do you know of other lists? Please please send them to us, and we will gladly add them to this post, which will continue to be regularly updated***

Resources for Hourly Workers, Artists, and Musicians, and Others:

  • For up-to-date information, follow Rise Up Belltown’s Instagram stories, or our faceland page, or contact us directly if you have specific questions or need assistance. We are here to help.

  • Washington State Employment Security has set up specific rules and responses for workers and businesses affected by COVID-19. They also have an amazing easy-to-read chart about who and what might qualify for what. special notes about unemployment help:

  • You do not need to technically be unemployed. your business can put you on “standby” and you can still collect benefits, so long as you’ve worked 680 hours in the past year (that’s 17 weeks, if you’re working 40/wk). Assume you deserve benefits, not the other way around. ask questions and speak up.

  • Your employer may not have to pay their portion of the benefits under these special circumstances. Even if you are close with your employer, please do not avoid collecting benefits, as a strategy to support the business.

  • Seattle Artists Relief Fund Amid COVID-19 - Organized by Ijeoma Oluo and others, this is a GoFundMe to directly support affected artists in the community: "This fund is aimed at helping those in the greater Seattle arts community who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists - but we will try to help as many artists with need in Seattle as we can."

  • Medical Emergency Grant for Artists - The Rauschenberg Emergency Grants will provide artists with up to $5,000 for a number of unforeseen medical expenses. Learn more here.

  • SMASH (Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare) At SMASH, our mission is to keep local musicians healthy. Working musicians must have access to affordable healthcare to prosper and continue to enrich our community.

  • Musicares may grant short-term financial assistance for personal (or addiction) needs that have arisen due to unforeseen circumstances. Learn more here.

  • If you are a union member, contact your local union to ask about emergency planning. If you need help getting in contact with your union representatives, the King County Labor Council can be a great resource.

  • The Seattle Foundation is organizing a multi-million dollar fund to provide immediate relief for severely affected communities. note: these funds seem largely destined for organizational grants, but Rise Up Belltown is advocating with others for a portion of those funds to be dedicated to direct support for affected workers. Stay tuned.

Resources for Local Small Businesses:

  • For up-to-date information, follow Rise Up Belltown’s Instagram stories, or our faceland page, or contact us directly if you have specific questions or need assistance. We are here to help.

  • Washington State Employment Security has set up specific rules and responses for workers and businesses affected by COVID-19. They also have an amazing easy-to-read chart about who and what might qualify for what. If you have suffered from this crisis, please check in. You can likely put your workers on "standby" even while they remain officially employed.

  • Mayor Durkan has announced an initial recovery package for small business owners and community stakeholders. While actively working on additional measures, the initial package includes B&O deferrals, emergency low-interest SBA loans, and deferred utility payments.

  • Amazon has set up a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to specifically help street-level businesses in the immediate vicinity of its campus. The application link is not yet up, but it's worth a read and definitely stay tuned.

  • For those businesses that use faceland to manage events, they've set up a dedicated website with some high-level advice that may be helpful as you adapt to conditions.

***please contact us with additional resources that could be added to this list***

***this post will be regularly updated***

You can follow @RiseUpBelltown on Instagram for regular updates, or sign-up for our periodic email updates. This post was compiled by Rise Up founder and organizer Evan Clifthorne, with help from the members of the Belltown Oversight and Advisory Team. If you'd like to help shape these blog posts, we'd love to hear from you. :)