Rep. Lekanoff is fighting for the rights and safety for all those that call the 40th LD home. She is bringing her voice to the local, state, and national levels to ensure that our communities are protected.
As we talked about last week, cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the state. We’ve reached a new single day high of 1,292 new cases, and the 7-day rolling average from June 26 to July 2 was 629 cases per day – also the highest since the pandemic began.
This continued growth in COVID-19 infection rates calls for additional steps to be taken by us as individuals, and elected officials as our leaders. Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced a new limit on social gatherings and a ban on live entertainment across the state.
Counties that have moved into Phase 3 of the Safe Start reopening plan have been able to host social gatherings of up to 50 people, but effective Monday, July 20 this number will be reduced from 50 down to 10 people. These new limits apply to social gatherings, not businesses operations, and funerals, weddings, and religious activities will be exempt from the restrictions.
Some gatherings that may be limited by this change include:
- Book clubs
- Parties (birthday parties, house parties, cocktail parties, etc.)
- Baby showers
- Social clubs
- Garage and estate sales
- Gatherings on beaches and in parks
As more evidence continues to come in we’re seeing upticks in infection rates from face-to-face interactions, such as gatherings in the home or in work settings. While the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid these interactions, when that’s not possible wearing a facial covering is incredibly important. Governor Inslee’s order requiring masks in public settings a businesses is still in effect, and it truly is the most impactful thing we can all do to help one another.
“The numbers that we are seeing reflect the interdependence we have on one another,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said. “Everything that we do as individuals impacts our ability to move forward as a state. We can’t go safely forward until we all do our part.”
Last week we talked about San Juan County delaying their move into Phase 3 of Governor Inslee’s “Safe Start” program for reopening our state, on the recommendation of San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James.
Earlier this week at a special meeting, Dr. James recommended the county move into a modified phase 3, and the County Council voted 6-1 in favor of Dr. James’ recommendation. The order was finalized and submitted to the state, and Phase 3 can go into effect as soon as approval is granted.
Here is what Dr. James recommended as San Juan looks to move into Phase 3:
The following be allowed in Phase 3.
- Expanding to 75% capacity in eating establishments. However, these people will still need to wear face coverings at all times when they are not eating and seating will need to place people 6 feet apart.
- Museums and Libraries may open safely.
- Gyms and pools can operate at 50% capacity.
- All other businesses can now open except for night clubs, concert venues and large sporting events and other activities specifically reserved for Phase 4 by the Governor.
- Government services that are customerfacing can also open but will be required to provide those services with masks and distancing like other businesses will be required.
- Other activities will need to be restricted further than allowed for in Phase 3 options:
- Groups up to 50 will only be allowed outdoors only (weddings, sport events, summer camp activities)
These elements of Phase 3 NOT go forward at this time:
- Indoor gatherings of more than 5 people and up to 50 people NOT be allowed.
- Table seating of up to 10 people in an eating establishment will NOT be allowed.
- Bar areas in restaurant and taverns will NOT be allowed to open a 25%.
- Theaters will NOT be allowed to open at 50% capacity.
Counties across the state continue to move forward in under the “Safe Start” program of reopening our businesses and economy. As we discussed last week, San Juan, Whatcom, and Skagit counties have all moved into Phase 2!
It’s important that we remain vigilant and maintain social distancing practices like staying six feet apart from one another outside of our homes, wearing cloth face coverings in public, and consistently washing our hands. Phase 2 does provide a number of new opportunities, and allows businesses to reopen after ensuring additional safety precautions are in place.
Phase 2 allows for the following:
- Small social gatherings – inside or outside – are allowed as long as you don’t see more than 5 people in a week who you don’t live with.
- Outdoor recreation like camping is allowed as long as it involves 5 or fewer people from outside your household. (Check with campgrounds and recreation facilities for any additional rules and restrictions.)
- More businesses and services can reopen with restrictions, including remaining manufacturing and construction activity, domestic services such as nannies and house cleaners, retail stores, real estate services, professional services, nail salons, barbers, and pet grooming.
- Restaurants can open at 50% capacity, but without bar seating.
Counties must remain in Phase 2 – that is, maintain current COVID-19 rates – for at least three weeks in order to move into Phase 3.
It is no accident that we are consistently moving forward here in the 40th LD. Through our communities caring about our communities we have curbed the spread of COVID-19 and helped one another. Thank you for all your sacrifice and all that you have done for the good of us all!
Last week we talked about Governor Inslee’s statewide mandatory face covering order, requiring every Washingtonian to wear a facial covering when they are out in a public space, either indoor or outdoor. Governor Inslee recently made a new proclamation extending the face covering order, adding additional requirements.
Wearing facial coverings is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and it is something we should all happily do to help protect our loved ones and our neighbors. Under the Governor’s new proclamation, businesses may not serve a customer if the customer is not wearing a mask.
This is an important step that we can all take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Case rates are rising across the state, and that includes here in the 40th. As a result, Governor Inslee has also ordered a pause on advancing counties from their current phase under his “Safe Start” reopening program.
It’s up to all of us to do our part to help our communities through this pandemic. Governor Inslee has done a great job helping Washington in this trying time, and just a few days ago he announced that the state has distributed nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts
This funding has gone to those who need it most, those who have been hit hardest by COVID-19 and need our support now more than ever. It includes:
- $100 million to provide rent assistance to low-income renters at risk of homelessness, using an existing framework to send rent payments directly to landlords.
- $20 million to provide grants to help small businesses, support for local economic development organizations providing assistance to businesses, and support for data-driven recovery plans by region and industry.
- $20 million to provide operating grants to support nonprofits working to address disparities and inequities exacerbated by increased need and decreased funding due to COVID-19, including a variety of community and youth development programs.
- $20 million to assist Tribes with their pandemic recovery related efforts.
My team and I are always actively tracking COVID-19 developments for the 40th LD on my website – check it out here.
This is a difficult time for so many of us, and it will take self-sacrifice and dedication from all of us to beat COVID-19. I’m confident in the 40th LD, and I’m always honored to be your representative in Olympia. Thank you for all that you’ve done so far to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
As the world continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is up to each of us to do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe.
Governor Jay Inslee issued an Executive Order on February 29, 2020, temporarily closing all non-essential businesses, and encouraging individuals to shelter in place. Though the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order has been effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, we must maintain social distancing practices for the foreseeable future.
How to file for unemployment benefits
The state Employment Security Department (ESD) has simplified their website for easier navigation to the pages people need most right now. Apply for unemployment benefits here.
Questions about returning to work? Check out the State’s Employment Security Department FAQs here.