Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has signed a coronavirus emergency order prohibiting evictions of small businesses and nonprofits.

The step comes after decisions by Durkan and the City Council to halt most residential evictions in Seattle and by the King County Sheriff’s Office to stop serving and enforcing evictions.

Seattle’s commercial evictions order, which Durkan signed Tuesday, says the moratorium will last 60 days or until the end of the city’s emergency. It covers evictions related to nonpayment of rent and lease expirations, and it defines a small business as any business entity with 50 or fewer employees, including sole proprietorships.

The moratorium took effect immediately, though Durkan’s order will go to the City Council for confirmation, modification or rejection. The council is very likely to approve it. Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda praised the move in statements Wednesday.

“We are facing the challenge of our lifetime. We are taking unprecedented steps to protect both residents and employers from the impact of this crisis,” Durkan said in a statement.

For pending evictions covered by Seattle’s commercial evictions moratorium, Durkan’s order should be a defense in court, it says.

The order says landlords should try to work out payment plans with distressed small businesses and nonprofits. It also prohibits late fees.

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