Governor Jay Inslee announced $ 135 million in federal CARES legislation to help businesses, workers and families hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington state.
OLYMPIA, Washington – Governor Jay Inslee on Friday announced a $ 135 million federal relief plan that will provide financial support to small businesses, workers and families who have been hit hard by Washington’s new restrictions on novel coronaviruses .
“We know this pandemic is having an economic impact,” Inslee said at a press conference Friday. “On Sunday we announced $ 50 million in business support, but after more discussion with lawmakers and our agencies, we agreed on how to more than double that.”
The package includes $ 70 million in business support grants, which will be distributed by the Ministry of Commerce. It also includes $ 30 million in business loans, $ 20 million in rent assistance, which will also help homeowners, and finally $ 15 million in energy assistance for low-income families.
Department of Commerce director Lisa Brown said companies should be able to apply for the grants within the next week and that it will be through the department website. There will be no restrictions on the use that companies can make of the grant money, Brown said.
“We know this is tough on these small businesses, and we know it won’t entirely solve the burden that many business owners bear,” Brown said. “But it will help some of them through a difficult time. We will continue to work with lawmakers, Congress and other partners to gain additional support.”
Inslee also announced a cap on third-party delivery fees to help restaurants struggling to stay afloat. The proclamation caps the delivery charge at 15% and the total charge at 18% of the purchase price of an order.
“It’s a big relief effort,” Inslee said. “I can’t say this will help everyone, but I can say that we are not yet done working with our partners to find more funds.”
Inslee wrote a letter in Congress earlier this week, urging leaders to continue negotiations for another coronavirus relief package which he hopes will be enacted by the end of the year.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture reports that the number of people dependent on food aid in Washington state has doubled to 2.2 million people.
In the letter, Inslee explained how Washington residents grapple with hundreds of thousands of residents who are unemployed, hungry and facing housing insecurity.
“These needs will only worsen as other core provisions of the CARES Act expire at the end of 2020, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF ) existing, ”Inslee wrote.
Washington is on the verge of depleting all state coronavirus relief funds, Inslee said.
“Americans will suffer irreparable harm if small businesses, families, workers, and state and local governments are forced to face the months ahead without immediate federal action,” the Minister said. letter said. “Only Congress can provide the size and scale of the relief needed at this time.”