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Mayor Durkan Statement Following Meeting With Vice President Pence to Address Federal Response to COVID-19

Mayor Durkan cited lack of available test kits and inadequate small business relief as top concerns for the City of Seattle 

Seattle (March 5, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan issued the following statement after a roundtable of local leaders with Vice President Pence and Governor Jay Inslee to address public health concerns and the COVID-19 crisis: 

“I am so grateful to our frontline healthcare workers and first responders.  Seattle and our community always steps up to prepare and respond to any serious event. As I emphasized to the Vice President, we need the federal government to be a major partner for our local public health agencies, local governments, our small businesses, our workers, and our most vulnerable populations.  Our healthcare workers and first responders need support. 

“One the biggest priorities that we need from the Administration right now is increased testing capacity. In our meeting today, I called on the CDC to rapidly expedite testing protocols. Exponentially streamlining and expanding testing nationwide helps local leaders better understand and appropriately respond to COVID-19. The Vice President assured us they would help scale testing quickly, provide more personal protection and support our first responders. 

“As local, state and the federal government respond to this public health emergency, we also have to keep our small businesses and workers at the forefront of our assistance and relief. Our small businesses are the economic workhorses of America, particularly in Seattle, where small businesses make up 95 percent of Seattle establishments and provide nearly 200,000 jobs.  I have heard from many of our small businesses who have already been impacted significantly in recent days and weeks.  Many workers cannot work from home, and many are “gig” workers with no sick leave. We must ensure our state and federal assistance is inclusive of all workers.  Even as Congress and our state has approved a response package, our businesses and workers need assistance fast tracked to keep their doors open and their workers paid.  

“Finally, I requested that the Federal government to provide resources toward vulnerable individuals and individuals experiencing homelessness.  From support for health care to shelter to rental assistance for our businesses and residents, the administration must give us resources to help our city during this public health crisis.”