My last update of 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Your efforts to stay home are working. We are slowing the spread of the virus and helping ease the burden on our state’s health care system. Your adherence to the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order is critical to protecting the health of your family and your neighbors. However, I know that this is a sacrifice that comes at enormous cost to Washington workers, students, and businesses.
I hope that you find the information in this e-mail helpful as we navigate this pandemic together. I want to ensure that you are informed of how you may be impacted by our state’s response to this crisis.
For updated information, you can continue to check:
- Washington state’s official COVID-19 website
- Washington State Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I want to let you know that this will be my last e-newsletter for a while. That’s because during an election year, there are certain restrictions on our communications to prevent the use of state resources for election purposes. These restrictions include a freeze on e-newsletters such as this one, as well as to our legislative websites and Facebook pages. Under our state’s strong ethics and election laws, no new content can be added to our official websites, sent, or posted beginning May 11, 2020 until after the general election in November. However, I am always available to answer your questions and listen to your concerns if you call my office or email me at Gael.Tarleton@leg.wa.gov.
Safe Start Washington
With the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order extended until the end of May, Governor Inslee has outlined his Safe Start phased approach to safely re-open our state.
We are in Phase 1, which began on May 5th. In this phase, we will continue to stay home and limit trips to essential travel. Some outdoor recreation, including state parks and hiking, have been opened, in addition to drive-in religious services.
Every 3 weeks, the Governor’s office will evaluate public health data to determine if we are ready to advance to the next phase. This data includes health care system readiness, testing capacity, contact tracing ability, and risk to vulnerable populations.
The metrics and steps in this plan are crucial components of balancing public health and our economy as we re-open Washington safely, slowly, and thoughtfully. Following the guidelines in the Safe Start plan will help prevent both another peak in COVID-19 infection rates and a further extension of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Click here to read more about what each phase includes.
Finding Food Assistance
No one should go hungry. That is why our state, local, and community partners are coming together to coordinate on the fight against hunger. Most recently, the governor announced the WA Food Fund, which will not only help keep our kids fed, but will also help food banks keep their shelves stocked. It’s a collaboration between government, nonprofits, and philanthropies to coordinate food distribution to those in need across the state. Learn more, volunteer or donate by visiting WAFoodFund.org.
If you’re having trouble getting enough food, you can apply for food benefits or get help covering the basics by calling 211.
Additionally, schools are providing free meals to students. Too often, the only meal a child gets in a day is the one provided by their public school. We are so grateful to the volunteers and school staff that have continued to make lifesaving meals available, at least until the end of the school year. Please do your part to keep them safe when picking up meals by following their guidance, staying six feet apart, wearing face masks and gloves, and washing your hands.
Seattle Public Schools is distributing free meals to students at pick-up locations and by bus. Check their website to find out more.
Washington state has put together a food assistance resource page on the official Washington State COVID-19 website, which includes information on emergency food acces
We are lucky to live in such a beautiful district and state, with quick access to the great outdoors. Starting May 5, Governor Inslee has re-opened fishing, hiking, hunting, and golfing, as long as people maintain social distancing. Please remember to avoid crowds, bring a mask, wash your hands, and pack out what you pack in. It’s more important than ever that we all keep up these best practices so we can stay healthy, continue to open our economy back up safely, and preserve our beautiful environment. Read more about the specifics here and don’t forget to check state websites before you head out the door.
I know that these are difficult times for everyone. Thanks to the joint effort of millions of Washingtonians, we are one step closer to visiting with our loved ones, opening our businesses, and returning to school. Thank you for doing your part to combat this virus and support our friends, neighbors, first responders and those grieving during this challenging time.