Amazon extends free rent to small tenants for another month

Amazon extends free rent to small tenants for another month

An Amazon spokesperson on Wednesday said the company will not collect rents from the restaurants and other small businesses that operate in its office towers.

Amazon has not been collecting rent since March, when the pandemic mandated work-from-home policies. That emptied out office buildings across the region, including Amazon's more than 40 in Seattle, where most of its 55,000 employees in Washington work. Amazon also has an expanding presence in Bellevue.

In-restaurant dining has been shut down across most of the state since mid-March, and based on the number of daily new Covid-19 cases in Seattle and King County, it appears it will be some time before they and other small businesses where social distancing isn't always feasible can fully re-open.

Amazon has extended its work-from-home policy through at least Oct. 2 and has taken other steps to help mitigate the devastating impact of Covid-19 on small businesses and as well as its hourly employees. The company said it was continuing to pay its more than 10,000 hourly staff, including food service workers, security guards and janitors.

Amazon also created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to give cash grants to retail and service businesses that operate within a few blocks of its Seattle and Bellevue buildings.

Amazon said it has disbursed over $11 million in cash grants and free rent to more than 900 small businesses.

Among the tenants in some of Amazon Seattle buildings are Starbucks and Specialty's Café. Starbucks has asked landlords to give concessions for at least a year, and Specialty's has permanently closed all its stores.

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