Dear Friends and Neighbors of the 46th Legislative District,
My thoughts go out to you and your families as you work to keep yourselves and your families healthy during this coronavirus outbreak. We are all deeply saddened for the families who have suffered loss or who are currently suffering.
I’m sure that many of you are scared, worried and stressed as we all try to get through this unprecedented event. It can be hard in times like these to know where to turn, and where to find the most up-to-date and accurate information.
I wanted to share the website created by our state government to help keep all our communities informed. You can find it here: www.coronavirus.wa.gov
This website contains a wealth of information from Governor Jay Inslee’s office, our state agencies, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more. I’ve included a lot of the helpful information – from tools for handling stress, to resources for our out-of-work neighbors, to tips for talking to kids. But I encourage you to explore this website for yourselves, and to pass it on to others in our community who have questions.
In addition, I have heard from many people who are being laid off from their hospitality and restaurant jobs as well as the owners of these establishments who are seeking assistance to cover payroll or otherwise maintain their business. There is information further down on the SBA and other resources that should become available, I hope very shortly.
What to do if you are ill
If you are ill with fever and a cough or non-acute shortness of breath, stay home. If you are unsure of how to care for yourself or are concerned about your condition, call your health care provider for advice. If you feel you need to visit your doctor, call them first. Keep yourself separated from other people and animals in your home. Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for steps to take if you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may be infected with coronavirus
- CDC guidance to help families, employers, schools and others stop the spread of COVID-19 (pdf)
- Washington State Department of Health information on getting tested
Leave some for your neighbor – don’t buy more than you need!
Washington State’s supply chains are operating normally, yet consumers are overstocking and clearing store shelves of the items that sick neighbors, doctors, dentists and emergency response personnel need to stay safe. Health experts emphasize the best way to protect yourself from infection is through washing your hands frequently and limiting contact with others, not by overstocking certain supplies. Leave some for the folks who need them most!
Supporting affected employers and workers
State agencies have been working with federal agencies, employers and workers to support businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.
- Expediated unemployment: Gov. Jay Inslee announced on March 18 a waiver of the one week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance, allowing funding to go out to workers when they most need it.
- The Employment Security Department has information for employees and employers about possible benefits such as paid family and medical leave, unemployment benefits and SharedWork.
- The Department of Commerce is working with the federal Small Business Association to secure loan assistance and has also information for businesses experiencing trade impacts.
- The Department of Labor & Industries oversees the state’s paid sick leave law, the workers’ compensation program and workplace safety issues. The agency has FAQs on these and other topics related to coronavirus.
- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommendations to help employers keep their workers safe with sick leave policies, cleaning routines, and more.
- The Small Business Administration will provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Resources for you and your family
Stopping the spread of coronavirus is an effort we all play a part in. Learn how to protect and care for yourself and your family, cope with feelings of isolation or anxiety, determine whether you or a loved one is at higher risk from COVID-19, and find resources to get the care you need.
- Relief for renters: Gov. Jay Inslee announced on Wednesday a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 days.
- Coping with stress: Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for coping with COVID-19 related stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation.
- Coronavirus basics: The CDC has a helpful overview of what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, symptoms, and more.
- Keeping your home and workplace healthy: This helpful chart from the CDC provides specific actions you can take to stop the spread in the places you and your family spend the most time (pdf).
- Financial resources: The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for Washington consumers impacted by the coronavirus.
- Higher risk populations: Older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. The CDC has advice for how to stop the spread and protect those most likely to get sick.
- Information for pregnant and nursing mothers: The CDC says there is currently no information about the susceptibility of pregnant women and young children to COVID-19. Learn more about their efforts to understand the effects of COVID-19 on women and children.
- Talking with your kids: As children cope with school closures and try to understand what is happening, parents and caregivers may struggle with how to be reassuring but honest. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has provided some helpful tips for talking to kids.
- Utilities: Cascade Natural Gas has issued a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payments related to hardships incurred from COVID-19. Puget Sound Energy will not be disconnecting customers at this time.
- Flexibility for tax collections: The Washington State Department of Revenue will have authority to waive suspend penalties and interest on certain late tax payments.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email or phone. While my staff and I are practicing social distancing and working from home, we are monitoring calls that come into our Olympia office line: 360-786-7690.
Please keep yourselves, your families and your neighbors safe and healthy.