City of Seaside Visitors Bureau

City of Seaside Visitors Bureau.

The opportunity to receive a one-time $4,000 grant from the city of Seaside’s 2020 Tourism Relief program brought 142 applications, the city’s director of tourism marketing, Joshua Heineman, said after the Monday application deadline.

The program approves up to $250,000 in emergency funding to help local businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue from COVID-19 restrictions. The Signal is among those that applied.

Restaurants, shops, galleries, cafes and entertainment establishments operating in Seaside for at least one year are among those eligible.

The program is part of a three-pronged approach to help lodging owners, non-lodging businesses and residents manage during the economic downturn.

The one-time lodging tax waiver for the first quarter of the calendar year applies to Seaside hotels, motels, RV parks and vacation rentals. Lodging taxes brought in about $1 million during the first quarter of calendar year 2019.

Lodging tax relief and non-lodging business grants are each funded through reserves of the combined transient lodging tax and business license fund, Assistant City Manager Jon Rahl said.

Emergency grants may be used to keep employees on payroll, pay for sick leave or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.

Applications will be reviewed this week by a committee that includes representatives from Clatsop Economic Development Resources, Heineman said. Applicants will be notified of the final status of their request, along with a check for any approved funding, by the beginning of May.

All Seaside residents will receive a $50 credit on water bills, mailed last week. The credits are funded through the water department.

By the numbers

The Oregon Health Authority reported 2,059 cases and 78 deaths from the coronavirus as of Wednesday morning.

The health authority tracked 366 test results in Clatsop County, including six positive cases.

Unemployment claims spike

Another 605 people in the county applied for unemployment insurance last week, part of 53,800 more claims statewide.

Nearly 2,500 people in the county have applied for unemployment over the past month since President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus, part of around 22 million claims nationwide and nearly 300,000 in Oregon.

More than half of the claims in the county have come from the accommodations and food services industries. More than 300 retail workers have filed for unemployment in the county with the economic slowdown, along with more than 220 health care workers as hospitals and clinics restrict nonemergency procedures.

During the week of March 29 to April 4, the state Employment Department paid $23 million in benefits to Oregonians. That amount more than quadrupled during the week of April 5 to April 11 to $97 million with the inclusion of a $600 weekly federal stimulus.

The state is still expanding hiring to process benefits and creating the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to allow the self-employed, contract and gig workers not already eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Help for social service organizations

The county will provide financial support to vital social service agencies to help with housing, food banks and shelters during the coronavirus pandemic.

The county Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed during a work session last week to assign $50,000 for the fiscal year that ends in June and $50,000 next fiscal year for overhead costs at Helping Hands, Clatsop Community Action and The Harbor.

The organization provides temporary housing for people enrolled in reentry programs and has 88 beds in the county, including a shelter at a former boarding house in Astoria.

The county also reached out to Clatsop Community Action, which operates the regional food bank and provides housing assistance, and The Harbor, which works with victims of domestic violence and provides transitional housing.

County Manager Don Bohn said $20,000 will go to Helping Hands, $20,000 will go to Clatsop Community Action and $10,000 will go to The Harbor this fiscal year.

Commissioners also plan to vote on an additional $50,000 to provide a small grant program to deal with immediate impacts on critical nonprofits.

The grants, of up to $10,000, would be competitive and commissioners would review the requests.

Vehicle access closed

Vehicle access is closed to North County beaches through April 30.

All beaches in Seaside remain closed.

Edward Stratton and Nicole Bales of The Astorian contributed to this report.

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