News for the Week of October 12
News and headlines for the week of October 12.
Inslee extends eviction moratorium, public utilities proclamation. On October 14, Gov. Jay Inslee announced the extensions of the eviction moratorium and public utility proclamations as COVID-19 continues to impact the finances of Washingtonians statewide. Both proclamations were extended to December 31. Click here for the Moratorium on Evictions and here for the utilities Ratepayer Assistance.
Businesses face fines for coronavirus mask violations, but most are complying. Since mid-July, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has looked into mask complaints concerning more than 4,200 retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the state. In the vast majority of cases, the businesses that were violating the rules complied after L&I staff explained the requirements, or the initial complaints to the state were not substantiated. The agency has fined eight companies for violating the state public mask mandate and endangering their workers’ health. Three others were cited after public mask complaints led to L&I finding worker mask violations. Read the full news release here.
COVID-19 transmission increasing in western Washington, rates flat but higher in eastern Washington. On October 14, the State Department of Health (DOH) released the latest statewide situation report on COVID-19 transmission. Click here to read the latest WA SitRep.
Cases are rising in King County – What does that mean for schools? Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise again in King County, after two months of decline. What does this mean for in-person school? The rise in community transmission highlights the importance of schools being prepared to implement the recommended COVID-19 health and safety measures before returning to in-person instruction. Click here for the full article.
Resource: Eligible families strongly encouraged to apply for free and reduced-price meal programs. While all students may be provided free meals through the end of December, it is still critical that eligible families complete the application this fall. Many students across Washington state rely on school meals to meet their nutritional needs. As the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue, more families are taking advantage of free meals provided by school districts. Families are strongly encouraged to complete a School Meal Application now, which determines a student’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals. Read more here.
New Federal Grant Supporting WA Businesses. A newly announced federal grant supports Safe Start projects and partnerships aimed at helping Washington state businesses restart, rebuild and become more resilient. A $15 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, one of the largest such grants in the nation, will support a number of initiatives ultimately aimed at helping Washington small businesses and strengthening core industry clusters. Click here for more information.
High Volume Testing Locations in King County. King County has added a webpage with information for high volume drive-through and walk-up sites aimed at increasing access to testing across our community. Traveling outside of King County? The State has added a testing site locator map. Click here for the statewide map.
Reducing coronavirus risk as we spend more time indoors for fall and winter. As the season changes, cooler temperatures mean more time indoors. The risk from COVID-19 increases with indoor gatherings compared to outdoors, but there are ways to reduce the spread and stay healthy. We talked to Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin about COVID-19 risks indoors and what to do about it. Click here for more.
Statewide COVID-19 vaccine distribution progress update. The State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with our COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning efforts. We are working with the federal government and local partners to plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. DOH staff are on track to turn it in to the CDC by the October 16 due date. Click here to read the State's update.
Resource: Extended foster care eviction and rent assistance. The Washington State Department of Commerce: Office of Homeless Youth allocated $1 million in CARES Act funding to the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to provide stipends to young adults who will age out or have aged out of Extended Foster Care at age 21, between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. The purpose of the funding is to support housing stability for youth who exited the Extended Foster Care Program at age 21. Read more here.
Resource: Protections for Energy Customers affected by COVID-19 Extended. On October 6, state regulators approved protections for electric and natural gas utility customers who are struggling to pay their bills due to financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission ordered investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in Washington to continue a moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment until April 30, 2021. Also, utilities will continue to waive deposits for new customers and all late fees through Oct. 27, 2021. Utilities must also work with customers to establish long-term payment arrangements for up to 18 months for residential customers, and 12 months for small commercial customers. In addition to payment arrangements, all utilities must also create a COVID-19 bill payment assistance program funded at 1% of their Washington state retail revenues, in addition to any existing local and federal assistance programs. Follow this link for more information.
How Metro is Keeping You Safe. Metro’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Report, which is the first compilation of the actions Metro took to maintain safe and reliable public transportation services during the pandemic and summarizes the agency’s approach to support the region’s future recovery is now available. Even at the pandemic’s highest points, Metro riders made over 100,000 trips every day. For more on the County’s transportation response and recovery plan, click here.