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It has been just over a week since I wrote to you last. I wanted to check in and provide you with more information and updates on the state's response to coronavirus. I know this is an unsettling time for all of us, and a most difficult time for many. But, together, we will get through it caring for and supporting one another.
Like you, I am deeply grateful to see so many people professionally, personally and selflessly pivoting their talents and resources to aid in our response to help locally and globally. Joining our efforts is truly making a difference and will allow us to reap important lessons for our tomorrows as we meet this challenge now.
“Stay Home, Stay Healthy”
Gov. Inslee issued his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation on Monday. You can read his full remarks here. This order essentially means for the next two weeks:
- Every Washingtonian should stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity. You can still participate in activities such as bike rides, gardening and dog walking – as long as you follow social distancing rules.
- All grocery stores, pharmacies, childcare facilities, gas stations, food supply chains and other things that offer people basic, crucial needs will remain open.
- All businesses are closed except for essential businesses. You can find a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” here.
- To clarify status, or request inclusion on the list, you can fill out and submit this online form.
- There is a ban on all gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes. This includes weddings and funerals.
The goal of these drastic steps is to help stop the spread of coronavirus. We must flatten the curve, which is a phrase we have all come to understand.
I continue to support most of the difficult decisions being made by Gov. Inslee, but I acknowledge the hardship and disruptions they are causing individuals, families, schools and businesses. While public health is paramount, there must be a plan to help workers and businesses survive and recover.
Congress has now passed H.R. 748 – “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (“CARES Act”). The $2.2 trillion package will assist with both the health and economic challenges facing our states. This nonpartisan analysis from the National Conference of State Legislatures provides an overview of what the legislation will do, including direct payments to citizens, expanded unemployment benefits, and human services. This bipartisan action was needed and I support its goals.
The Legislature, governor's office and state agencies will unpack this legislation, and from there determine what else might need to be done at the state level to help fill the gaps. This may eventually necessitate a special session of the Legislature. There are already groups of state lawmakers who are sharing policies and proposals that could be considered.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Information and resources
Here is an updated list of resources related to coronavirus:
Washington state's official coronavirus website
The federal government's official coronavirus website
Updates from the Governor's Office
- Public and constituent inquiries: (360) 902-4111
Washington State Department of Health's website
- Call center: 1-800-525-0127 | 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week.
University of Washington Medicine | The Huddle: COVID-19 Daily Update
For more information on what's happening on a local/county level:
Health Care Authority: Mental health crisis lines (county crisis line phone numbers)
- Washington Recovery Help Line: 1-866-789-1511 (24/7)
Washington State House Republicans' website
National Institutes of Health's website
Small Business Administration: COVID-19 Disaster Loan Program Open for Applications
Department of Financial Institutions: Financial Resources for Washington Residents Impacted by COVID-19
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Department of Commerce: Homelessness Assistance
American Red Cross: Give Blood. Find a Drive.
Governor's proclamations and authority
The governor's recent proclamation is one of many he's made involving coronavirus. You can find a summary of them at this website. Some of you have also asked about the governor's authority in emergencies. You can learn more about this issue in this FAQ link.
Thank you for reading. Please continue to stay safe and practice social distancing. I welcome you to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns. I am here to help.
It is an honor to serve you.
435 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7884 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000