King County Executive Dow Constantine this week submitted a $70.4 million emergency supplemental budget to the King County Council that includes purchasing 25 million face coverings to help reopen businesses across the county, and investments to increase food security for county residents.
In addition to the face coverings, the proposal includes investment in community health, food security, and bulk purchases of hand sanitizer to provide to residents and help businesses reopen safely during the Safe Start recovery plan.
The proposed budget would provide each county resident two reusable cloth face coverings, as well as providing disposable non-medical face coverings to governmental agencies, nonprofits, and businesses to distribute to customers or clients who show up without a mask. The distribution plan is being finalized with the help of various government agencies and community organizations, including cities, King County Libraries, community-based organizations, religious institutions, unions, and chambers of commerce.
“Our road to recovery will be long, and we need to make sure businesses of all sizes are able to open safely, so we must ensure access to face coverings and hand sanitizer across our region,” said Executive Constantine. “We are uniquely suited to use the county’s purchasing power to get these critical supplies and investments to the people who need it most as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Key investments in the emergency supplemental budget include:
- $12.3M to leverage bulk purchasing power to provide low- or no-cost personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to kick start a safe reopening across the County. PPE would be distributed across County government, as well as to business, community based organizations, and faith based organizations.
- $4.6M for workplace accommodations, sanitation supplies, and video conferencing to support the operations of the Courts.
- $7.7M for food security access programs for those struggling, funding for foodbanks to increase capacity, and grant opportunities for farms to purchase equipment necessary for healthy work environments.
- $17.9M for public health to support testing, contact tracing, and isolation support services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- $5.5M for rental assistance, eviction relief, and shelter support.
Constantine previously submitted emergency supplemental budgets in March and May which were passed by the council. The emergency budgets provide funds for one-time investments to help in the health and economic recovery of the county. In addition to direct investments in the community, the proposal includes infrastructure support for county operations and community outreach efforts.