COVID-19: information and resources to keep you healthy

Legislative update from Olympia

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Each day brings new challenges and new questions as we face a temporary new reality in the light of COVID-19. I know, the last thing you need is another voice telling you to “wash your hands”; you want meaningful information. I hope the web links throughout this newsletter will make it easier for you to access the “official” information.  Admittedly, some of it is not perfectly clear or may not cover your specific situation but it is the best guidance we have at this time.

Our friends, families and communities have all been impacted in varying ways. And although we may not know what lies just around the corner, this is a time for prudence and caution, not a time for fear. I continue to stand amazed and in awe of our community. Each of you have helped your friends, neighbors and complete strangers, which is a testament to our ongoing resiliency in these unprecedented times.   

We are bombarded with new information every day and while I know that can cause concern, please be assure that government officials   at every level are making sure that the health of every Washington resident remains a top priority. On Monday, Governor Inslee issued a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Here is what that means:

  • This order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home for two weeks (until April 7), unless they are pursuing an essential activity, like shopping for groceries, going to a doctor’s appointment, caring for a loved one or going to work at an essential business.
  • The order bans all gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes. This applies to both public and private gatherings, including weddings and funerals.

What does this mean for business owners?

The order requires the closure of all places of business not considered essential. Grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses can remain open. The governor’s office has provided guidance on which businesses are defined essential.

However, those businesses that provide essential services must implement rules to facilitate social distancing by at least six feet.

What if your business isn’t listed as essential?

If your business does not fall under the exempted categories, you may request designation as an essential business by sending an email to

During this challenging and uncertain time, my office is here to help in any way possible. If you have any additional questions, please reach out. My contact information can be found below.


Financial Resources

For those experiencing lost wages during this time, Washington State Employment Security has programs offering assistance. As you can only imagine, the number of individuals already seeking benefits is huge so please be patient as you work through the application process. To help speed up the process, please keep in mind a few key points:

  • there is a pre-form you can fill out to determine if you qualify. You must have worked, on average, 13 hours a week for a year
  • when asked why you are out of a job, the correct answer is “lack of work”
  • if you would like to schedule a specific day and time for someone from the claims center to call you back, visit the “schedule a callback” page
  • the fastest way to apply is using their eServices online option. From there you can submit questions, review documents and check on the status of payments

I have been talking with many of our small business owners and I know that this is an uncertain time. There is guidance and resources available through the Small Business Administration who is administering emergency and disaster assistance. Click on the links below to learn more.


School closures

Governor Inslee ordered that all schools – public and private – in the  Washington close for six weeks. Schools were closed on or before Tuesday, March 17, and will not reopen until Monday, April 27. See the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s FAQ sheet for more information.

I was happy to see that they have provided guidance to our districts on ways that they can help meet the needs of all of our students – those who are graduating in just a few short months and those receiving special education. Some questions remain, of course, and we are working through them day-by-day. And many of our districts have found exciting and innovative ways to continue to deliver educational experiences to our students. I have watched on Facebook over the past several days, Sultan Highschool play out their Spirit Week virtually, with students and teachers posting selfie’s with their pets or in the crazy socks; at Sedro-Woolley High School, they are using the social media platform to post a “McCartt Pun” of the day from beloved teacher Mr. McCartt; and Darrington has provided a Wi-Fi hotspot for students to download their assignments in Google Classroom. While certainly not a traditional learning environment, the amount of care each of our local districts has shown working towards delivering not only meals but an education to our students needs to be applauded.


Staying Healthy

We can all take steps to ensure we stay healthy during this outbreak. Here is a link with detailed information from the Washington State Department of Health along with some helpful tips:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds • Stay home when you are sick • Cover your coughs and sneezes with an elbow, sleeve or tissue • Good personal health habits (diet/exercise) help prevent respiratory infections, including coronaviruses and influenza. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Think you might be sick? Go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.

Need additional information? Click on the following link for complete directory of Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources


We are all in this together

I would like to close with a thank you to the health professionals, doctors, nurses, first responders, and caretakers who are currently on the frontline of this outbreak. We owe the all a debt of gratitude. Many of us are nervous about how far this pandemic will go and if we all simply do our part, staying home and distancing ourselves when we are out in our community, we can all play a part in helping to flatten this curve. I assure you, if we all do our part, things will get better.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can assist you in any way.


Phone:  Like many other businesses, we are teleworking for the next two weeks. You can reach me by email or on my cell at 360-545-2820.

All the best,


March 25, 2020

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