King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove released the following update on Friday, Mar. 20, 2020:
SPECIAL GROCERY HOURS FOR ELDERLY, AT-RISK SHOPPERS
Many grocery stores across King County—including Safeway, Whole Foods, Target, and Uwajimaya—have announced special times of day where only elderly and at-risk people can shop. A partial list of participating stores is available here.
NEW STATE CORONAVIRUS WEBSITE
We just received word of a brand new website launched by the state that can be considered the definitive, comprehensive source for information on coronavirus. You can find links to official information from a wide range of trusted sources, including government and community services. Visit the site here.
FREE INTERNET ACCESS AND HOTSPOTS
We just learned that Comcast Xfinity WIFI hotspots across King County will be available to anyone who needs them for free. A map of free hotspot locations and info on how to connect is here. There are thousands of these hotspot locations across King County.
The company is also offering 60 days of free internet access for low-income families. To sign up, applicants can visit their website.
RESIDENTIAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
The Governor announced Thursday afternoon that he has instituted a statewide moratorium on residential evictions for 30 days. You can read more details on the moratorium at on Inslee’s Medium page but know that the City of Seattle has already instituted a ban on evictions, and the King County Sheriff’s Office has said it won’t enforce evictions during the continuing outbreak.
UNEMPLOYMENT WAITING PERIOD WAIVED
Inslee also announced that the state is waiving the one-week waiting period for out-of-work employees to collect unemployment benefits, retroactive to March 8.
ACTION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
To help businesses impacted by the crisis, Inslee said that up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The state will also be able to waive penalties and late fees for certain late business tax payments, and a number of tax fees will be waived for both business owners and residents.
ESJ GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE
Locally, the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice released criteria for community-based organizations to apply for grants up to $25,000 to fund outreach, education, and community engagement in these critical areas: language access, health literacy, cultural sensitivity, community and ethnic media outreach, and anti-bias and stigma resources.
The grants are funded by $1 million that I voted to approve as part of emergency funding for the county’s COVID-19 response. You can read more information on the program here.
If you missed any of my earlier updates please know we have been compiling resources to help people with financial needs during this unprecedented time. You can find all of the resources on the King County Council website, including options to download each page as a PDF if you would like to share it with others or keep it handy.