Tacoma offers businesses and families relief during COVID-19 outbreak

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma’s mayor rolled out steps the city is taking during the COVID-19 crisis, including help for small businesses, temporary relief from local business taxes, and help for people facing personal budget problems.

One step includes relief for homes or businesses behind on utility payments. They will not have their water or power cut off during the crisis. “I will authorize Tacoma Public Utilities to suspend disconnection for non-payment to all residents and business customers,” Mayor Victoria Woodards said in a Tuesday news conference.

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One benefit just about anyone can enjoy is free parking. The city will not hand out parking tickets to anyone for using a space past the allotted time. That means virtually free parking downtown. “It’s awesome,” said Mackenzie Brown, who works in a startup on Pacific Avenue. “Definitely, working down here or having to pay for parking, or having to move your car every two hours is the most stressful part about working in Tacoma.”

“To get a ticket right now when a lot of people are out of jobs and the struggle we’re all going through, it’s pretty tough,” said Robert Lepse. Lepse is the executive chef of Wooden City, a restaurant on Pacific. He says the free parking is great, but he's worried the business may not survive the crisis with restaurants required to shut down. “Now a bunch of us are out of jobs and we have families and kids and bills to pay, and it just kind of puts everything to a halt,” said Lepse.

You can read more about Tacoma’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak at the city website: https://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx

More information about relief for small businesses is available at: https://makeittacoma.com/