Edited November 23, 2020
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising very quickly across the state. Okanogan county is also experiencing hotspots in our community.
Because of these concerning trends, Governor Inslee announced new restrictions for the state effective November 17 through December 14.
Public Health agencies are supporting the Governor’s announcement and asking that restaurants close to indoor dining, and gyms, movie theaters, and bowling alleys all close. Stores and churches need to limit their occupancy to 25%, and church choirs and congregations need to avoid singing. Everyone is asked to refrain from gathering indoors with people who you don’t live with, and to avoid outdoor gatherings of more than 5 people (full list of restrictions here).
Public health experts, and lessons from other counties, tell us that these kinds of restrictions are necessary BEFORE things get out of control. WA state is taking a strict stance now, for this short period, in order to flatten our current wave of COVID-19 cases before our healthcare systems become more overwhelmed then they already are.
OCPH is asking for your help in following these new restrictions for this short period of time.
We know that gathering indoors or traveling to gatherings is not safe this year. We need to commit to our neighbors that we will avoid these situations, which we know are currently the source of spread for most cases in our community.
We also know that our county businesses, restaurants, movie theaters, and gyms are being asked to sacrifice again after an already devastating year.
We can all support these businesses during this time so that they can reopen.
Ways to help your local businesses:
- Order takeout from a local restaurant
- Shop local: most grocery stores and shops can arrange curbside pick up if they have reduced capacity for visitors
- Give gift cards to local businesses and gyms as holiday gifts this year
- Send notes to residents in long term care who cannot visit in-person with their loved ones
- Offer to grocery shop for your neighbor
On November 20, the state committed $135 million in financial support for families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes:
- $70 million in business support grants.
- $30 million for the recovery loan program.
- $20 million for rental assistance.
- $15 million for energy bills for low-income households.
Included in the $70 million in business support grants is $50 million for a new round of Working Washington grants focused on the hardest-hit industries.
Keep an eye on the Washington State Department of Commerce website (StartUp Washington) where details on applying for Working Washington Small Business Grants will be posted soon. These grants are designed to help small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, and businesses located in rural communities.
At the federal level, if your business received a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, you are still eligible to have those loans forgiven; and small businesses and nonprofits can apply for a federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) if they’ve been hurt economically by the pandemic.
Thank you Okanogan County for continuing to show love for your community by making the hard choices. We will get through this together.