At a news conference on Tuesday morning (Dec. 8, 2020), Gov. Jay Inslee announced a three-week extension of the wide-ranging COVID-19 restrictions he ordered Nov. 15 — shutting down indoor dining and gyms and limiting social gatherings through Jan. 4, 2021.
Inslee also pledged $50 million in additional state aid for businesses, as well as economic safeguards for workers impacted by the pandemic, vowing to step in to provide unemployment benefits for workers who will lose them if Congress fails to act by the end of the year.
The three-week extension of statewide restrictions come as the state’s healthcare system nears dangerous occupancy levels. With the effects of Thanksgiving on infection and hospital numbers still unknown, the extension will grant the state’s medical system much needed time to increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity before it’s overwhelmed.
“What we do between now — when COVID activity is still at crisis levels — and the time when vaccines are widely available, is literally a matter of life and death,” Inslee said.
Inslee was joined by Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown, who announced an additional $50 million, doubling the number of Washington small businesses that will receive aid. Industries recently shut down, such as restaurants and fitness centers, as well as businesses that have been devastatingly impacted throughout the pandemic, like music and event venues, have been prioritized.
Find more information on Working Washington Small Business grants here.