Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2020 legislative session ended on Thursday, March 12. Ordinarily, I would send you a summary of some of the wins and losses of the session. But, we are not living in ordinary times. Many of us are concerned about the health and welfare of our loved ones, neighbors and ourselves. The suddenly unemployed, underemployed and many small business owners are facing tough days ahead.
As the response to the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop, I would like to take a moment to encourage you that a tremendous amount of work is being done to help people at risk, especially those experiencing a loss of income. All levels of government are responding as quickly as possible. In this update, you will find resources and links to assistance. If you have questions beyond what's provided below, contact me. I'm happy to help in any way I can.
Legislature approves $200 million to combat coronavirus
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.
The governor has mandated a two-week closure of entertainment facilities, restaurants, bars and limited gatherings to 50 people or less. These measures should help slow down the spread of the virus.
Schools have also been closed until April 27 at the earliest. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, OSPI, has published several resources for individuals and families affected by these changes. You can check their webpage or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.
- Guidance for Long-term School Closures as of March 18, 2020
- Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance & Resources
- Guidance for Long-term School Closures as of March 13, 2020
- School Closure FAQ
- Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in K–12 Schools: A Parent Guide
- Talking to your children about school closures
Emergency rules have been adopted to help with temporary layoffs, unemployment and isolation and quarantine for those infected with COVID-19.
- The Washington State Employment Security Department has announced expanded benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19. Click here to see if you qualify.
- COVID-19 | Scenarios & benefits available
- Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
- Workers' Compensation Coverage and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Common Questions
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- Business & Workers
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.
For business owners
- 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
Other COVID-19 links and resources:
- Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)
- Government emergency actions
- You & Your Family
- Local Health Departments
We are all in this together!
Please be assured that I will do my best to keep you informed in the days and weeks ahead. Right now, we all can be heroes by taking care of ourselves and looking out for those around us. Together we will get through this.