Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes issued two citywide emergency orders Friday designed to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on small businesses.
Among other things, the orders make it illegal for landlords to evict small businesses during the crisis, effective through April 30. A small business is defined as any business with fewer than 50 employees holding a valid Vancouver business license.
Holmes’ declaration also reopens the Vancouver Farmers Market so long as vendors and customers take appropriate precautions. Organizers will be required to submit a written operational plan to the city for approval and obtain a special safety permit.
Additionally, Friday’s announcement included:
• suspension of all city business license fees and surcharges;
• protection for city water and sewer customers against being disconnected, a waiver of late payment fees and allowance for payment plans;
• access to city funds for its Help to Other (H20) program, which helps cover bills for low-income water and sewer customers (The program is usually funded through private donations);
• a ban on all private residential foreclosures unless the structure is proven unsafe;
• a provision that landlords and property managers wear personal protective equipment when entering a tenant’s home, and adhere to social distancing protocols.
“Over the past weeks, a substantial portion of our local workforce has been impacted by layoffs, reduced work hours and corresponding reductions in pay as a result of COVID-19. As a result, an immediate threat is posed to the life, health and safety of Vancouver residents who are unable to make payments for housing and procure necessary goods and services,” Emergency Order 2020-07 reads. “Further, our local businesses play a vital role in maintaining the stability of our local economy. Yet local businesses are at an increased risk of economic hardship due to temporary restrictions.”
The emergency orders are effective immediately, although they’re subject to review by the Vancouver City Council. The council may modify, extend or terminate the terms of the mandates when it meets remotely at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
To read the text of Emergency Orders 2020-07 and 2020-08 in their entirety, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/cmo/page/vancouver-city-manager-issues-additional-emergency-orders-related-covid-19-response and follow the links to each document.