An important message from Sen. Maureen Walsh about the coronavirus crisis
Today we face one of the biggest challenges of our lifetimes – stopping the spread of the deadly coronavirus. So far our corner of the state has largely been spared the outbreaks we have seen in the greater Puget Sound area. To keep ourselves safe, we must take reasonable precautions and follow the advice of experts to avoid personal encounters that might cause illness to spread.
Another challenge will come when we get the all-clear and can emerge from our homes. We’ll need to dust ourselves off and get back to work. For many of us, this will not be easy. We’ll feel the effect of this economic disruption for some time to come.
In these difficult times, all of us have a role to play. This crisis touches each of us – our friends, family, loved ones, possibly even ourselves. The silver lining of this situation is that it forces us to put others before ourselves. It brings out the best in us. If we work together, we are stronger than any virus.
If you think you have been exposed to Covid-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your doctor.
STAY HOME, STAY HEALTHY ORDER
On March 23, the governor announced a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in Washington state, to control the spread of coronavirus.
This order requires every Washingtonian to stay at home, unless they are pursuing an essential activity, such as shopping for groceries, going to a doctor’s appointment, or going to work at an essential business.
The order bans all gatherings of people for social, spiritual and recreational purposes. This applies to both public and private gatherings, including weddings and funerals.
It is still safe to go outside, if proper social distancing techniques are maintained. By keeping our distance, each of us can play a role in combating this highly contagious virus.
Grocery stores and other businesses deemed essential remain open during this crisis. Most others have been ordered to close offices, shops and other workplaces and send employees home. Telecommuting is strongly recommended during this period.
The governor’s office, through the Department of Commerce, has issued guidelines on which businesses should remain open. Businesses that provide essential services must implement rules to facilitate social distancing by at least six feet.
These websites, updated regularly, contain the latest information about the crisis from official sources.
Washington State Coronavirus Response. Check here for official news, announcements and general advice.
Department of Health. Check here for current statistics and other information about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. The Department of Health coronavirus hotline number is 1 (800) 525-0127, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
Benton-Franklin Health District. Check here for information about the response in Benton and Franklin Counties.
Columbia County Department of Public Health. Check here for information about Columbia County’s response.
Walla Walla County Department of Community Health. Check here for information about Walla Walla County’s response. For questions regarding coronavirus, call (509) 524-2647, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Washington State Ledger. This page, maintained by the Washington House Republican Caucus, compiles links to legislative information and state and local agencies.
Department of Employment Security. Check here for information about filing for unemployment in Washington state and coronavirus-related programs for workers and employers.
Department of Commerce. Commerce is playing multiple roles during this crisis, including decision-making regarding essential businesses, business assistance programs, and homeless programs.
Business assistance programs are listed here.
Homeless-program information is listed here, including information about emergency grants.
Essential-business guidelines are listed here. Those seeking clarification of the governor’s business-closure order or inclusion in the list of essential businesses can use this form to contact the department.
Department of Revenue. Check here for information about business relief programs. Emergency measures affect a broad variety of taxes and programs, including the business and occupation tax, real estate excise tax, leasehold excise tax and others.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Check here for information about public-school closures, graduation requirements, continuous learning programs and school meal programs.
Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Check here for information about how your insurance coverage is affected by the coronavirus crisis.
OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Check here for the latest national information about the coronavirus outbreak, including state-by-state statistics.
World Health Organization: Check here for information about the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.
U.S. Small Business Administration: Check here for information about applying for disaster assistance loans.
Thanks for visiting my Web site. It’s a great honor to serve the people of the beautiful 16th District. I spend a lot of time listening to constituents about the needs of our communities. This important feedback helps me refine my priorities as your state senator, including:
- Creating and preserving jobs;
- Working to help empower parents to be their kids’ first teachers and making sure all kids are prepared and excited about entering kindergarten;
- Addressing agricultural needs and concerns;
- Making health care more affordable and accessible;
- Preparing students for our diverse economy; and
- Responsible state budgeting that cares for our senior citizens and the most vulnerable.
I hope you’ll use my Web site as a resource to finding out more about the work I do in Olympia and ways you can contact me. Click on “sponsored bills” to learn more about the bills I have sponsored or co-sponsored. Please sign up for my e-newsletter to receive periodic updates on legislative and statewide issues.
I always welcome your feedback and make a point to respond to all your calls, e-mails, letters, and visits. Don’t ever hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have. I look forward to hearing from you.
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A representative government only works when those represented take an active part in the process. I'm here to serve you, and your direct input helps me do my job better. Please don't hesitate to contact me via e-mail, phone or by mail, or make an appointment to see me in person. I look forward to hearing from you!