Find answers, resources, and information on COVID-19 in Washington state
This is the centralized website for Washington-state specific information on COVID-19. It should be checked often for updates on the ongoing pandemic, state actions, and available resources. What follows is the most frequently requested information from our office, with direct links, answers to FAQs, and additional resources.
Stay Home, Stay Healthy
What our state, the nation, and the world are going through is unprecedented. We must minimize the impact of COVID-19 as much as possible and the only known way to do so effectively is to avoid proximity and contact with others.
The order includes a ban on all gatherings. And let me start by saying, I know this is hard, but we have to do it. While you can walk outside on your own, no gatherings in the park. While you can be in close proximity to your own household members, you need to stay at least 6 feet away from anyone with whom you are not currently living. We recognize that this will put a serious damper on personal celebrations and disrupt some incredibly personal events, but this is the sacrifice we are asking everyone to make to slow the spread of this virus.
As your State Representative, I’m with you, and I’m trying to lead by example. Today is my 40th Birthday. Am I meeting up with my friends and family to party? Only virtually! This is in addition to canceling my wedding and only leaving the house for doctors appointments for the baby boy my fiancé and I are expecting in August.
So folks, please take this seriously. We certainly are. Take good care of you and yours, and read on for some very helpful resources.
What is Essential?
The recent executive order closes many businesses, unless they are essential to the healthy functioning of the state. If you don’t know or are unsure of whether your job or business is essential, check out the list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” that will ensure continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. To clarify status or to petition to be added to the list, please email: Business@mil.wa.gov.
It will be difficult for many, but this decision is essential to control the virus and keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
Hunkering down to prevent contagion is leaving much of our workforce out of a job, which is particularly hard for the many people in our state who are self-employed and don’t qualify for regular unemployment insurance. That’s why I support this letter sent to our congressional delegation requesting that the federal government unlock disaster unemployment assistance for the thousands of independent contractors in Washington who are losing work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protect yourself and your community
As this situation continues to rapidly unfold, please protect yourself and your family by following these DOH recommendations:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue and discard it immediately.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay home when you’re sick.
- If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider before you go to a clinic or emergency room.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Show compassion and support for individuals and communities most closely impacted.
Support for workers and businesses
The governor’s move to close nonessential businesses will help slow down the spread of coronavirus, but workers and business owners are looking for answers as they wonder how they will get their families through this necessary shutdown.
State agencies have adopted emergency rules and developed comprehensive websites to help relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses. Please keep in mind that the content in the links below will likely be updated as this situation continues unfolding, so check these sites often for the latest information.
- The Employment Security Department has resources for workers on paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, unemployment benefits, and more. Check out this easy reference chart on scenarios and benefits.
- The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has information available on mortgage payments, rent payments, student loan deferments, short term and emergency loans, utility payments, and more.
- The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has a site set up to help with insurance questions, including a frequently asked questions page.
- The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a special enrollment period for individuals without insurance which will run through April 8th, 2020.
- The Employment Security Department has information on what resources are available to help businesses keep employees, and information about tax filing lenience.
- Governor Inslee’s website has a list of resources on:
- How to apply for federal Small Business Administration loans.
- How to request tax filing extensions or penalty waivers from the Dept. of Revenue.
- Where to go for support from the Dept. of Commerce Export Assistance Team.
- The Office of the Insurance Commissioner has a page on business insurance information, including one answering questions on event cancellation insurance.
Support for parents and students during school closures
Schools are the cornerstones of our community. On March 13, Governor Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal directed all schools statewide to close until April 24. School closures are having a serious impact on Washington’s families, so here are some resources to help your family adapt:
Feeding families during the COVID-19 Crisis
There are plenty of ways to continue to access safe and healthy food, and extra help is available for families that need support getting food on the table.
Grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores remain open. As the governor stated on Monday, there is no need to stockpile. Our supply chain remains strong. Practice social distancing and use good hygiene when making essential trips for groceries.
Order takeout and delivery while practicing social distancing. Again, the governor has closed restaurants for the next two weeks to increase social distancing, not because food is the risk. You can still support small businesses by ordering takeout and delivery. Make sure to maintain good social distancing and hygiene while doing so.
Assistance with buying food. If the COVID-19 crisis is creating extra strain on your household budget, you can apply for assistance through various state programs at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/.
The City of Seattle is taking steps to help residents who may be experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak and contributing $5 million to provide emergency food vouchers to approximately 6,250 families in need. Learn more and find out if your family qualifies in this FAQ.
Free school meals in some school districts. School districts are stepping up to continue to provide free school breakfasts and lunches. Check with your local school district to see if they are providing free meals for kids.
Food banks remain open. Food banks continue to provide assistance to families and are instituting increased social distancing and hygiene practices. For any questions about hours or practices, please contact your local food bank directly. If you are healthy and able to give time, consider volunteering.
Cooking at home. For those cooking at home, handle food with the same care that you usually would. Wash your hands. Only handle food when healthy. People who are coughing, feverish, short of breath, or otherwise sick should stay out of the kitchen.
A Social Distancing How-To
Social distancing is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the virus is transferred from person to person.
Even if you do not show signs of the virus, you could be a carrier and should practice social distancing whenever possible.
Social distancing guidelines include:
News on COVID-19 is changing quickly. Stay up to date with the most recent and accurate information with the links below, including where to find public resources, including unemployment, health care, small business support and more.
- The Washington State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus website can be translated into 15 languages including Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Korean and more.
- King County has information available on its website in 15 languages as well.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Association of WA Business (for small business owners)
- Concerned about an incarcerated friend or family member? The Department of Corrections issues daily public updates and lists their health and safety strategies on their website. Please also know that your state officials are paying close attention to the DOC’s handling of this crisis.
Have questions or need help finding resources?
Legislators and our staff are now working remotely in compliance with Gov. Inslee’s emergency declarations. However, I am still available as a resource to you all. You can reach my office at (206) 962-5098 or by email at Noel.Frame@leg.wa.gov. Please feel free to contact my office with questions or concerns as we continue to manage this emergency.
Rep. Noel Frame