Friends and Neighbors:
What a year. Starting public office in 2020 with unprecedented medical, social, and economic states of emergency has been a whirlwind. But with the help of organizers, community, and our colleagues on the King County Council, we’ve been able to do some good work in our first six months!
More than anything else, I am thankful to each of you who has reached out and helped us continue to build a brighter future, even in one of the most difficult years in modern times. We’ll keep working together for the rest of 2020 and beyond!
Yours in service,
Councilmember Girmay Zahilay
SECOND EMERGENCY BUDGET PASSED
The Council unanimously adopted an $86 million emergency budget using CARES Act funding received by the County from the Federal government. This will fund the County’s ongoing public health response to COVID-19 and a variety of programs to support people suffering from the economic fallout. It includes about $20 million for food security, rental assistance, homeless services and a variety social programs. The funding also supports digital equity in K-12 students and seniors and further invests in behavioral health services, for which demand has grown sharply during the pandemic. We included language to ensure that funding reached all of those in need, especially communities hit hardest by COVID-19.
Next up, the King County Council is expected to be considering additional emergency supplemental budgets in mid-August and October, prior to drafting the two-year biennial budget for the County in November. In this time of crisis we will continue to work hard to balance the need for public health response, while ensuring we do our part to address the impacts of COVID-19. Our office will be hosting a town halls and workshops in the run up to these new budgets so stay tuned for continued opportunities to collaborate.
GOV. INSLEE ANNOUNCES PAUSE ON REOPENING EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 28 AS COVID-19 CASES KEEP RISING
Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced that he was extending the pause on phased reopening until at least July 28 as statewide cases continued to rise. The pause means no counties can be approved for moving to the next phase of reopening until that date if the order is not extended further. Inslee indicated that if the spread of COVID-19 continues, he and health officials could consider further restrictions. When the pause was announced two weeks ago, Inslee also announced a requirement that businesses in Washington refuse service to anyone not wearing a cloth mask. In the meantime, it’s essential that we all do our part by masking up in public to reduce the spread of this deadly virus so we can begin a full economic recovery.
SMALL BUSINESS GRANT DEADLINE EXTENDED
The deadline for businesses to apply for a King County Small Business Assistance grant has been extended by one week, to 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 17. These grants are for businesses in unincorporated parts of King County that have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The King County Council approved $4 million in supplemental funding for grants, technical support, and translation and interpretation assistance to help small businesses in unincorporated King County recover from impacts of COVID-19 closures. To learn more, including eligibility requirements, or apply for assistance, visit https://kingcounty.gov/localbusinesshelp.
COVID-19 TESTING AVAILABLE
COVID-19 testing continues to be available free of charge around King County regardless of immigration or insurance status. They are open to anyone who cannot access COVID-19 testing through their regular healthcare providers. Most sites are non-profit Community Health Centers and language interpretation services are available at all locations at no additional cost. You can find your nearest available location here.