Resources for Businesses

March 23rd: Governor issues proclamation:

 "Stay Home Stay Healthy."

This proclamation, effective Midnight March 25th, will:

  • Require every Washingtonian to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
  • Ban all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes.
  • Close all businesses except essential businesses.

Prohibitions shall remain in effect until midnight on April 6, 2020, unless extended beyond that date. 

For more information on what businesses are currently allowed to be opened or need to be closed, please visit the Governor’s web page HERE. This page will be continuously updated as the situation evolves.

March 16th: Governor’s announcement on a statewide shutdown of onsite dining in food establishments and closure of some other businesses. It does not prohibit take-out, delivery, or drive-through food and beverage services.

A message to the San Juan County business community:

The County understands the profound ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 crisis to businesses on all of the islands. We are committed to putting the full resources of local government in action to mitigate and respond to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, in addition to the public health crisis. This page will will be a resource to share information and help to communicate with our business community. 

There are already energetic, creative, purposeful efforts on the islands underway, and those will continue in the weeks and months to come. The County’s goal is to support, coordinate with, and contribute to the work already happening, and lead a rapid, aggressive, and well coordinated County-wide approach that helps get the islands back on their feet as quickly as possible.

The list of links to the right will grow and evolve in time.

Thinking out of the box:

Now is the time for unconventional thinking. How can businesses quickly adapt to this new landscape? Is there an opportunity to provide more service remotely? What about County wide marketing campaigns geared to locals to help them support their regular business destinations by purchasing gift certificates? There are no easy answers, and not all businesses can shift their approach. But, the islands have a spirit and sense of community that will help us through this. The more the effort can be coordinated and unified the better it will be, and the sharing of best practices and lessons learned will be key. The County will work to support, lead where needed, coordinate always, and try not to stand in the way of the efforts of our incredible community.

Recommended hygiene strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home 
  • CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. 
  • Emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees 
  • Additional Measures:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

How do I keep my business as clean and disinfected as possible?

Routine cleaning works against COVID-19, but you need to be 100% spot on, and even more proactive, regular, and aggressive with your efforts than normal. Businesses should follow standard procedures for cleaning and disinfecting with a Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified products and kills human coronavirus. (That includes the common cold, as well as COVID-19).

Typically, this means frequent sanitizing of surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands‐on learning items, faucet handles, phones/tablets and toys. Also, focus on “high contact areas that people are touching with their hands” and “horizontal surfaces like counters or desks” where viruses can live in droplets and transfer from the surface to the next person who touches it and then rubs their eyes or eats food or scratches their nose.

A simple format to follow:

  • Focus on high-touch areas and horizontal surfaces.
  • Clean with soap and water, or detergent.
  • Disinfect with EPA certified product.
  • Be sure to read the label and follow the directions.

One of my employees is experiencing an illness with COVID-19-like symptoms. Do I need to close my business to the public?

In the event of a confirmed positive test for COVID-19, public health staff will be working with your business directly to perform proactive contact tracing and will provide further guidance at that time.

That said, this is a nuanced question with many possible factors at play and common sense should be used at all times. Don’t hesitate to contact the COVID-19 hotline at 360-370-7500 if you have specific questions around situation in your workplace. We encourage all businesses that are able to have staff telecommute work remotely, but we know this option is simply not feasible for many businesses. The hope is that business owners make decisions that attempt to balance needs of both their business and the overall health of the community. It is no easy thing. 

We understand that these decisions can have wide ranging impacts to both businesses and the customers they serve. San Juan County’s best advice is to follow the guidance of the Department of Health recommendations for workplaces found here, and consider implementing a plan now in case one of your employees contracts this illness.

Resources are being marshaled at the state and federal level to help provide for the economic impacts to business during this crisis, and as these resources become available to our local community we will communicate them clearly to the those impacted.