Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2020 legislative session ended last Thursday, March 12. Normally, I would send you an update on the results of my work for you in Olympia—but times are not “normal” right now. The coronavirus has many of us concerned for loved ones, friends, neighbors and ourselves. Along with health concerns, many small business owners and their workers are now facing hard times. As the situation continues to develop, the government's first response must focus on providing as much support as possible.
With that in mind, I've put together a list of resources and information for employers and workers that may need help to get through this situation. If you have questions beyond what's provided in this email, contact me. I'm glad to help in any way I can.
Legislature approves $200 million to combat coronavirus
I'm grateful that on the final day of the 2020 session, the Legislature approved House Bill 2965, which allocates $175 million from the rainy day fund for state and local agencies to fight the disease and another $25 million in aid to businesses that have shut down because of the outbreak.
Dining, entertainment facility closures
The governor announced a statewide emergency proclamation to close restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities. Take out and delivery services will still be allowed. The ban does not apply to grocery stores or pharmacies. The changes are in effect until March 31. Click here to watch the governor's announcement.
Employment Security Department:
- The Washington State Employment Security Department has announced expanded benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. Click here to see who qualifies.
- COVID-19 | Scenarios & Benefits Available
- For workers and businesses affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus)
- The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for Washington consumers impacted by COVID-19. Click here to view that list.
- Information for businesses impacted by COVID-19 is changing daily. For a resource list of help for businesses and workers, follow this link.
- Skagit COVID-19 resources for businesses
U.S. Small Business Administration
- SBA COVID19 Disaster Loan Program Open for Applications
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- SBA Products and Resources
- Government Contracting
- Local Assistance?
Department of Labor
Department of Labor & Industries:
- Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
- Workers' Compensation Coverage and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave
- Health insurers have been ordered to waive deductibles and co-pays for coronavirus testing. You can get more information about how different types of insurance coverage here.
- For Washingtonians without health insurance, the Washington Health Benefits Exchange opened a limited-time special enrollment period through April 8. Click here for more information.
Counties reporting coronavirus
As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 3:25 p.m. the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported 1187 confirmed coronavirus cases and 66 deaths. There are 14 confirmed cases in Skagit County, 310 cases in Snohomish County, and 562 in King County.
- For the latest information on the location of confirmed cases, go to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website.
- For information from local public health offices around Washington state, click here.
- DOH's center is open 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., seven days a week, and can be reached at 1-800-525-0127.
Other COVID-19 links and resources:
- Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)
- Government emergency actions
- You & Your Family
- Business & Workers
- Local Health Departments
- Childcare / K-12 / Higher Education
We will get through this together!
As the state and national response to the evolving COVID-19 crisis continues, please be assured that I will do my best to keep you updated and informed. For now, I urge caution, calm and wisdom. Let's all do our best to take care of each other, our loved ones and our neighbors. Together will get through this.