Governor Jay Inslee recently announced “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery,” a new regionally focused reopening plan that will begin on January 11th. The Inslee Administration believes the new plan will allow the state to ease some business restrictions without overwhelming hospital systems. “No one was untouched by the effects of the pandemic in 2020;…

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Listen as WBA Executive Director Barbara Chase and KGMI’s Mike Davis discuss the recent petition efforts by WBA to County Executive Satpal Sidhu and the challenges all businesses are facing as we move into the next year. KGMI podcast: Whatcom Business Alliance

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On January 1, 2021, minimum wage will increase to $13.69 in Washington State, putting additional financial pressure on Whatcom County businesses. Furthermore, there are changes to overtime pay rules, raising labor costs even more on top of the wage increase.    The planned minimum wage increase has been expected for some time. Still, with the ongoing…

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In response to increasing coronavirus cases, Governor Jay Inslee announced sweeping, potentially devastating new restrictions on business. Those restrictions include the closure of indoor dining, bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums, restricting retail to 25% capacity (including grocery stores), and banning indoor gatherings of any kind with individuals outside of your own household. Unlike the…

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Whatcom County businesses should brace for another state minimum wage increase on January 1, 2021. On that date, the new state minimum wage will be $13.69 per hour. State overtime rules are also changing, which could result in employers seeing additional increases to the labor costs beyond just the wage increase. While the planned minimum…

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Despite the Inslee administration’s claims, it has become clear that Washington businesses should expect an increase in their unemployment insurance (UI) taxes that will add up to $800M in 2021, with additional increases likely in store in 2022 and 2023. Economists at the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) attribute the UI shortfall to the…

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On Thursday, September 10 Senate Democrats blocked what some called a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill. The two parties could not agree on the scale of the aid, with Republicans supporting relief for schools, small business, and jobless benefits. The $650B package was deemed too small by Senate Democrats, who opposed the bill on a near…

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Washington continues to witness positive trends as hopeful data emerges on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the state. However, despite the good news, Governor Jay Inslee’s administration has placed additional regulatory burdens on Agri-tourism and family farms. Under the Administration’s new restrictions, customers cannot touch or view animals. Hayrides, games, and touching farm…

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On Thursday, August 19, business leaders from across Whatcom County attended the Whatcom Business Alliance’s Recovery Whatcom webinar to learn more about the science behind COVID-19, the potential policies and changes to the future of health care and what businesses could do to mitigate the spread of the disease and potentially open sooner. Panelists included:…

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Things were normal. Then they weren’t. Then everything was closed. Then a few things could open—and that is where things have stayed. In early June Whatcom County moved to Phase 2 of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan, and for the time being that is where Whatcom County will remain. Per Governor Jay Inslee’s latest order,…

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