Important Update from Mayor Dana Ralph
Effectively immediately we have taken the following actions:
-We have closed City Hall, Centennial Center, the Police Department, the Shops, the Senior Activity Center, Kent Commons Community Center, Finance Customer Service, Permit Center, Clerks and the Municipal Court to the public.
-Most City employees are being directed to work remotely.
-We have cancelled all board and commission meetings.
-We have cancelled the City Council workshop and are moving Council's Committee of the Whole to a phone meeting.
-We are encouraging residents to not attend the Council meeting and instead submit public comment to email@example.com
-We have cancelled all City related travel and trainings
-Bars and dining establishments will remain closed but open for take out and delivery and we encourage residents to support our local small businesses.
Here’s an update on the Covid-19 Coronavirus situation in Kent. I haven’t sent an update in recent days because not a lot has changed. Major changes from my last update are in bold.
- The mayor’s emergency proclamation remains in effect.
- Our Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) remains active at a planning level.
- The governor may extend his “stay at home” order.
- Schools remain closed.
- ShoWare Center remains closed.
- Kent Commons, the senior center, teen center, and programs remain closed until at least April 24.
- Parks remain closed until further notice.
- Our buildings are locked at all times.
- In-person appointments at the permit center and in-person payments at the Finance Customer Service counter ended last week.
- We continue to issue permits and conduct some inspections because the governor’s order allows some construction activities to continue.
- Please don’t let the public into locked buildings.
- Our Municipal Court remains closed.
- Most office-based employees are working from home.
- We appreciate those who remain onsite to perform tasks that can’t be performed from home.
- Employees who are assigned to work from home will be paid as if they had come into the office; employees who aren’t assigned to work from home will need to take vacation to remain at home.
- Please remember to limit video streaming because we’re running out of internet bandwidth.
- We’ve implemented work schedules for employees in Parks and Public Works Operations that ensure only half the workforce is on duty at any one time.
- Other social distancing measures remain in place.
- We confirmed with the governor that local governments have discretion to define which of their employees are essential.
- Employees who are unable to work due to a future order from federal or state authorities will receive regular pay.
- We’ve established protocols for what happens if an employee tests positive for coronavirus or has symptoms that could indicate coronavirus – including protocols for cleaning work areas.
- We encourage on-site employees to monitor their temperatures and stay at home if they have a fever (100.4 or higher), cough, or shortness of breath.
- We’ve placed thermometers in work areas so employees can monitor their temperatures.
- We expect employees to convert their meetings, including internal meetings, to remote meetings.
- Please visit other works areas only when absolutely necessary, maintain spacing of six feet between people, and of course wash your hands regularly.
- City Council meetings are now online and we accept public comment only by email/phone.
- We have canceled board and commission meetings.
- We have canceled city-related travel.
- We’re working on a report to the City Council on steps we’re taking to support struggling businesses, especially small businesses.
- Quarantine facility
- We know we have a role to play in the state and county’s response to coronavirus.
- We continue to monitor facility operations for public health and safety.
- We had a virtual meeting with county officials this morning.
- We remain connected with local business owners.
Thank you for serving our public in the middle of a pandemic. We appreciate you!
ABOUT THE $2 TRILLION CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF & ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT
The CARES Act includes investments that are critical to helping businesses and workers in our state and region:
- $350 billion in federally guaranteed Small Business Administration loans, which will be forgivable loans in some cases, to businesses with under 500 employees and some franchises.
- Help for distressed sectors, including our region's aerospace and aviation industries.
- Expanded federally-funded unemployment benefits to help vulnerable workers.
- Direct funding for state and local governments to cover unexpected costs of the COVID-19 epidemic.
The CARES Act also includes policies essential to helping businesses survive such as:
- Employer payroll and railroad retirement tax payments could be deferred. Also allows 50% deferral of self-employed Social Security tax payments.
- Refundable credit against employer payroll and railroad retirement taxes for certain employers that are hurt by the coronavirus but retain their employees. The credit would be for 50% of eligible employee wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2021. The credit would not apply to federal, state, or local government employers.
- The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) can provide unemployment benefits. For employers that want to keep from losing highly trained employees, these unemployment benefits can be received through, or while covered by, Shared Work, Partial Unemployment and Standby (which allow certain workers to collect unemployment while remaining with their employers and not actively seeking other jobs).
- ESD’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program can provide paid leave benefits for Washington workers who need to take time off from work due to a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Certification by a healthcare provider is required for applications for Paid Family and Medical Leave due to a serious health condition.
- ESD’s SharedWork Progam allows companies to retain employees with a reduction in hours. The company pays for part of the hours, and then unemployment compensation can be utilized for the remainder of the work week hours.
- ESD’s Temporary layoffs, standby and furloughs program allows a company’s laid off employees to avail themselves of unemployment compensation, without a need to look for new work if the company will rehire.
- If COVID-19 disrupts a Washington business and causes a mass layoff or closure, ESD its partners can respond with Rapid Response services and funding to help impacted workers get connected to unemployment benefits and re-employment services, including re-training, worker support services, and referrals to other social services.
- United Way of King County has put together a list of resources for people who were laid off due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Visit its website to learn how to apply for unemployment, health insurance and other aid.
ABOUT GOVERNOR INSLEE'S 3/23/20 STAY HOME, STAY HEALTHY PROCLAMATION:
Governor Inslee signed a statewide proclamation for all Washingtonians to stay at home for a minimum of two weeks. The proclamation orders all businesses, unless considered essential, to close and no gatherings will be permitted. The Governor's office has provided this list of essential businesses: Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers
- The Federal Small Business Administration offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans: These low-interest federal disaster loans are for working capital to Washington small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Applicants may apply online or receive disaster assistance via phone at 800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. SAVE YOUR PASSWORD - SBA does not have a password recall system.
- Keep Workers Safe and Healthy Fund – This assistance is designed to help employers with fewer than 200 employees to continue to provide uninterrupted medical insurance and keep them safe by offsetting the costs of additional sanitation and safety supplies.
It’s extremely important to document financial losses using this Economic Injury Worksheet.
- The Washington State Department of Revenue created a page dedicated to business relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and may extend state filing and payment deadlines to affected businesses.
- The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus and have extended the federal tax payment deadline from April 15 to July 15, 2020.
- Facebook has developed a small business grant program with $100M in cash grants and ad credits.
- Public Health - Seattle & King County
- Washington State Department of Health
- Washington State COVID-19 Response Website
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
ADDITIONAL BUSINESS RESOURCES:
- Greater Seattle Partners COVID-19 Business Resources
- Association of Washington Business COVID-19 Resources
- Small Business Development Center at Green River College
- BusinessWA.gov Small Business Guidance
- Governor's COVID-19 Resource Website
- RestoreYourEconomy.org - Resources for community stakeholders
- Coronavirus Prevention Customizable Flyer for Businesses
BUSINESS OPERATING GUIDANCE:
Guidance for retail businesses and service operators.
Guidance for employers if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Guidance for childcare businesses.
Guidance from OSHA for preparing workplaces.
UPDATED: 2:00pm, April 2, 2020
In keeping with orders established by the Governor and King County Health Officials in an effort to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, ALL Kent Parks recreation facilities and parks are closed to the public until further notice. This includes parks, recreation complexes, open spaces, dog parks, playgrounds, sports courts, picnic facilities, etc. Closure signage is installed, public restrooms are locked, parking lot and access gates are closed, and park amenities are locked and secured, where possible. While a park cannot physically be fenced off, we ask the public to adhere to these closure mandates. Local law enforcement and park personnel will continue to monitor parks and facilities.
Town Square Plaza, located in downtown Kent on 2nd and Smith Street, has restroom facilities available for public use during regular operating hours.
For all updates on Regional Trail closures, please follow King County Parks.
Riverbend Golf Complex is closed until further notice. This includes the 18-hole golf course, cart paths and trails on Riverbend property. Closure signage is posted at the golf course, restrooms have been locked, and the parking lot entrance is blocked. Essential staff is onsite to maintain the golf course and security of the facility. Scheduled events are under review for possible postponement. Guests who purchased Hot Deals are encouraged to contact GolfNow.com for full refunds.
In addition, all Kent Parks programs, classes, events, and rentals remain CANCELED until April 27. The Kent Commons Community Center, Senior Activity Center, and Teen Center remain CLOSED until April 27.
During this time, the Kent Home Repair program will be limiting operations. To protect potentially vulnerable residences, all interior home repair needs will be postponed until April; the only repairs that will be conducted are repairs made outside of the home. If emergency or essential needs arise by Home Repair clients, such as the loss of heat, the Home Repair team will utilize an outside contractor to assist in working through those critical issues. Kent Parks will continue to re-assess the situation to make a determination on how long this precaution will continue.
Refunds are being issued for all canceled programs, classes, and events. Please call 253-856-5000 for more information. Please note that phones are not being monitored as usual, but voicemails are being checked and returned Monday - Friday.
The Department of Commerce has started put together some resources for businesses at http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/links/crisis/covid-19-resources/, and the Governor’s office has as well at https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources/covid-19-resources-businesses-and-workers.
National Guard Q/A
· Guard members should monitor for instructions from their unit command regarding decisions about training.
· National Guard unit training is scheduled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to develop mission readiness among the disparate National Guard units across the country. The training is a requirement.
· The Washington’s Military Department and DOD are in discussions about how best to go about the training schedule under the current circumstances.
· If the units are sent to training as scheduled, the state will still have several thousand Guard members available for deployment here. Washington is also a member of a compact of Western States to share guard resources in times of need.
Paid Sick Leave
Paid Family Medical Leave Insurance
There are emergency rules.
King County Health
Washington State Department of Health
Hotline 1-800-525-0127 6am-10pm, 7 days a week
Office of Insurance Commissioner
Special open enrollment for medical insurance
Apply for basic assistance (DSHS)
Labor and Industries
Workers Compensation for those exposed on the job, for example first responders.
For Price Gouging
Please file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's Office at https://www.atg.wa.gov/file-complaint.
Children Youth and Families
(like daycares) - https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/coronavirus-covid-19
Protected Leave Laws
Employment Security Department COVID-19 Scenarios & Benefits
Help for workers whose hours are cut, or businesses worried about having to lay off their employees:
Easy to read comparison of the various economic safety nets for workers during COVID-19 emergency: