SEATTLE (November 15, 2020) - Our region was home to the first COVID-19 outbreak in our nation nearly nine months ago. Our quick response, backed by science and recommendations from experts, made Seattle a leader in the nation, with some of the lowest rates of COVID-19 of any major city. However, with the onset of colder weather in the fall and winter, we have seen an alarming spike in the number of cases and hospitalizations in our region over the last several weeks.
We need to reverse this trajectory now, before it gets worse, to protect our community's health and our economy.
Earlier today, Gov. Jay Inslee issued new statewide restrictions on social gatherings and businesses in response to the surge of COVID-19 across Washington state. We must continue to listen to doctors, healthcare workers, and public health officials who are warning about rising cases and hospitalizations.
While Seattle has one of the lowest rates of cases of any major city, we are not immune to the virus surging in the nation, state, and region. Seattle's cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing. During the first two weeks of November, Seattle had 1,550 residents diagnosed with the virus, which is nearly 20% of our total cases since March 2020. The number of hospitalizations in King County last week increased by over 70% compared to the previous four weeks. You can find more data at
or by visiting Public Health - Seattle & King County's data dashboard
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have impacted so many small businesses and workers. People are hurting. These actions will have a particularly profound impact on our small businesses as we head into what normally would be a busy holiday shopping season. While Seattle will continue to work creatively to provide direct financial assistance to our workers and small businesses, we are grateful the state will create a new $50 million relief fund. We also need the federal government to immediately pass another COVID-19 relief package.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the City of Seattle has worked quickly to launch COVID-19 relief programs, including rent relief, expanding shelter for people experiencing homelessness, grocery vouchers for working families, direct cash assistance for immigrants and refugees, and financial assistance to small businesses. Residents and businesses can find a list of existing COVID-19 relief resources and policies [at www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19]. I will work with the City Council, and our philanthropic and business community to provide further emergency relief in Seattle
Not being able to gather during the holidays with our loved ones makes an incredibly hard year even harder. As challenging as it is, we all need to be mindful of social and family gatherings.
As always, please continue to write me at Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov, reach out via Twitter and Facebook, and stay up-to-date on the work we're doing for the people of Seattle on my blog.
Stay safe and healthy,
Mayor Jenny Durkan
Gov. Inslee announces new statewide restrictions for four weeks
Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a set of four-week statewide restrictions in response to the recent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Washington and across the country.
The new restrictions come as Washington is seeing a consistent increase in daily case counts, with over 2,000 cases a day over the weekend and average cases in the state doubling over the past two weeks.
"This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position than we were in March," Inslee said during a press conference Sunday. "And it means, unfortunately, the time has come to reinstate restrictions on activities statewide to preserve the public's well-being, and to save lives. These were very difficult decisions that have very real consequences to people's livelihoods. I recognize that and don't take those impacts lightly, but we must act now and act quickly to slow the spread of this disease."
The restrictions are statewide and will take effect Monday, November 16 at 11:59 PM and will remain in effect until Monday, December 14. (The modified restrictions of restaurants, however, will take effect Wednesday, November 18 at 12:01 AM.)
To help mitigate financial impacts on businesses and their employees, the state will commit $50 million in aid. Businesses can also apply for Paycheck Protection Plan forgivable loans from the Small Business Administration, or from their local bank. If workers are kept in their jobs, the loans aren't required to be paid back.
The full guidance page is available at
City of Seattle to open applications for $4 million in Small Business Stabilization Fund grants
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that the City will now accept applications for $4 million in new Small Business Stabilization Fund grants provided by the Office of Economic Development (OED). Launching the expanded Small Business Stabilization Fund was one of Mayor Durkan's first COVID-19 relief actions, and to date, OED has provided 469 small businesses with $10,000 grants through this fund. The Small Business Stabilization Fund application will accept applications from Monday, November 9 until Monday November 30, 2020.
The newest round of the Small Business Stabilization Fund is funded by the joint COVID-19 relief bill that the mayor and city council passed in August. In the joint legislation, the mayor and city council allocated $5.5 million for Small Business Stabilization Fund grants and committed to spend $2.5 million in 2020, and another $3 million in 2021. After accounting for administrative costs, OED will be able to provide small businesses and economic opportunity nonprofits $2.37 million for grants in 2020 and roughly $1.6 million for grants in 2021. Additionally, the City is committing $1.25 million in 2021 to work with community-based organizations to help improve our prioritization of grants to the most vulnerable and traditionally underserved businesses.
Think small for game days and holidays
This year, our game days, family gatherings, and holidays will be different. And that's hard. But there are lots of ways to be a little more together, even when we're apart. As of Nov. 16, Gov. Inslee announced that indoor gatherings with people outside the household will be prohibited unless they quarantine for the fourteen (14) days prior to the social gathering or quarantine for the seven (7) days prior to the gathering, and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48 hours prior to the gathering. Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.
In addition to the recommendations and ideas provided by the Washington State Department of Health
the [best] way to stay safe, however, is to visit with extended family over a video-conferencing platform like Zoom. Check out this article from Business Insider
if this is your first time throwing a Zoom party. If Thanksgiving just isn't the same for you without a classic turkey dinner, this article from the New York Times
gives you a recipe for a delicious small-scale turkey dinner that you can share with the people living in your house.
Mayor Durkan announces $5.65 million to community organizations through the Equitable Development Initiative
Earlier this week, Mayor Durkan announced nearly $6 million in awards through the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), part of the City's effort to support Seattle's existing residents and businesses in high displacement risk neighborhoods. The City awarded $4.4 million to community organizations for site acquisition and major capital projects and another $1.25 million is intended to provide capacity-building support to existing EDI partners providing services during the current pandemic and economic crisis. The awards to organizations led by and serving people of color will be used for organizational capacity building, property acquisition, and capital expenses. In addition to the $36 million in EDI funds awarded, these community-based organizations leveraged that amount to more than $105 million in City-funded dollars since 2017.
Along with these award announcements, Mayor Durkan signed ordinances, approved unanimously be the Seattle City Council, that transfer City property to Black-led community organizations in the Central District. The two ordinances permanently transfer the Central Area Senior Center (CASC) to community ownership and establish a 99-year lease with Africatown Community Land Trust (ACLT) for Fire Station 6, an EDI award recipient. These property transfers build on the September transfer to Byrd Barr Place, another Black-led advocacy organization.
Courtesy of Mayor Jenny Durkan