Dear friends and neighbors,
Thank you for all the calls and emails I received from our community during the final weeks of session. I know that the growing and constantly evolving COVID-19 outbreak in our nation and community is creating significant concern and anxiety among families, workers and employers. It is affecting all our daily lives, and I hope you and your loved ones are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy during this time.
I know our community is strong, and while the future feels uncertain, we will get through this by supporting each other and following the guidance of public health officials and directives from the Governor. We learn more about this highly-contagious disease every day, so we need to expect our officials to continue to adapt as we learn more about how to protect people from exposure. That means recommendations and orders are changing rapidly, and I want to make sure you have updated information.
In this update you’ll find a wide range of resources to keep you and your family informed.
$200 Million for Coronavirus Response
On the final day of the 2020 session, the Legislature passed a bipartisan, bicameral bill to provide $200 million from the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to support public health responses and protections for workers losing their jobs due to business closures. The first allocations of the funding have already been sent out to state agencies, local governments and federally recognized tribes to assist with the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
Relief for businesses, workers, renters, and others struggling during COVID-19
Yesterday afternoon, Gov. Inslee announced a handful of substantial measures intended to provide relief to Washington businesses and workers, as well as renters and other residents who may struggle financially while dealing with the negative impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Those actions include:
- A statewide 30-day moratorium on residential evictions;
- Giving the Department of Revenue authority to provide flexibility in tax collections and a variety of fees and penalties retroactive to February 29, the date the Governor initially declared a state of emergency;
- Waiving a 1-week application waiting period for unemployment insurance; and
- Expanding eligibility for the Family Emergency Assistance Program to now include families without children.
This is in addition to the state support for workers and businesses, and the state financial, export, insurance and unemployment assistance that has already been made available.
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.
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.
Social distancing: a how-to guide
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:
- Staying home whenever possible, especially when you or anyone in your household is sick.
- Maintaining six feet of space between individuals. It’s okay to get fresh air, walk the dog, buy groceries and pick up medications – just maintain six feet of space.
- Eliminating nonessential trips outside the home. Use telecommute options and avoid public transportation whenever possible. Trips to the grocery store and pharmacy are okay.
- Minimizing contact with people, especially nonessential travel and visits with people over the age of 60. Seniors and people with compromised immune systems should stay home whenever possible.
- Rescheduling nonessential social gatherings and travel. There is a current statewide emergency ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and sit-in options at restaurants and bars. Delivery and take-out options are still available.
- Keeping in contact with loved ones remotely.
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 me at 360-786-7860 or by email at Gael.Tarleton@leg.wa.gov. Please feel free to contact my office with questions or concerns as we continue to manage this emergency.
Your voice in Olympia,