Mayor Jenny Durkan Statement on State and Local Measures to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

Seattle (March 15, 2020) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today issued a statement on new State of Washington and King County orders to combat the further spread of COVID-19. The orders will temporarily limit operations of bars and restaurants, and will allow restaurants to continue delivery, drive-through and takeout services. These orders prohibit all gatherings with 50 or more people, and require dance halls, clubs, theaters, health and fitness clubs, and other similar indoor social or recreational venues to cease operations. You can find more information about the State announcement here and the County’s announcement here. Seattle continues to consult with health officials to determine if additional citywide restrictions are required.  

recent study by the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) found that by early April, the Puget Sound region could have as many as 25,000 cases of COVID-19, and 400 deaths if no mitigation actions were taken. The study underscored the importance of social distancing in saving lives, preventing the further spread of the virus, and relieving pressure on the health care system and first responders.

“We have been working together to take steps throughout our region. We have very limited time to slow the trajectory of the virus, and hundreds of lives depend on our actions now. We must protect our most vulnerable and ensure our health care system can continue serving children, families and individuals not just for COVID, but for any emergency. I know these restrictions are hard and impact the livelihoods and ways of life of our families. But it’s the right thing to do for the long-term health, safety, and vitality of our communities. These actions reflect the growing scientific consensus that if we don’t significantly increase mitigation efforts and prioritize true social distancing, the consequences for our region could be devastating.

“We know Seattle’s small businesses, workers, and community organizations are already hurting. Here in Seattle, we’re working tirelessly to support them. I have talked with Vice President Pence, our federal delegation and Governor Inslee to speed up meaningful relief for those already impacted. We also continue to partner with business and philanthropy to build more programs for impacted workers and families. As a City, we are supporting our small businesses who are impacted by this crisis by deferring payment on business taxes and utilities, setting up a Small Business Stabilization Fund, and ensuring our small businesses can access federal assistance through the Small Business Administration as soon as it becomes available. We will continue to build on these measures by using every possible local, state, federal and private resource to support small businesses, workers, and families.

“Ultimately, we know we will need an unprecedented small business and worker relief package from Congress. Congress must think bigger and bolder for a long-term economic relief package to help the people and businesses who already feel the real consequences of this global pandemic.”

Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have implemented the following programs to support small businesses and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Providing immediate financial relief through B&O and utility deferred payment plans;
  • Implementing a temporary moratorium on residential evictions to prevent working people from losing their homes;
  • Investing $1.5 million in small businesses financially impacted by the pandemic;
  • Launching a COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Task Force to ensure policy solutions are responsive to community needs; and
  • Preparing to provide direct technical assistance to small businesses applying for federal Small Business Administration loans, as soon as the loans become available.