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Gov. Inslee announces relief for renters, businesses

(Gov. Inslee on Wednesday via Facebook)

Gov. Inslee announced on Wednesday new efforts to limit the impact of coronavirus on businesses, renters, and workers in Washington state.

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“Like when we face any squall,” Inslee said in a news conference, “we know that we are going to get through that squall and that storm, but it is going to be tough.”

Inslee announced a statewide moratorium on evictions for failure to pay rent for residential tenants for the next 30 days.

Law enforcement may not enforce eviction orders based on late or non-payments, according to Inslee. Landlords cannot initiate judicial action based on failure to pay rent.

“Washington residents and business are reeling from the health, safety, and economic fallout as a result of COVID-19,” Brett Waller, Director of Government Affairs, Washington Multifamily Housing Association. “We must ensure that rental homes remain available to those who need them and that housing providers are not subject to liens, foreclosures, or the loss of property during this outbreak. We will work with the mayor, county, and state officials to seek support and relief so housing providers can continue to operate and keep their homes on the market.”

With a rapidly growing number of workers off the job, Inslee also announced that the one-week time period before you can get access to unemployment insurance will be waived. That order is retroactive on claims filed back to March 8.

All public utilities will waive late fees for customers who are out of work, including payment plans, and Inslee thanked the utilities who have already taken this step for their leadership. Penalties on late tax payments will be also suspended.

Small businesses will soon be able to apply for grants from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds to help them stay open.

For families, those without children are eligible for the Family Emergency Assistance Program.

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Inslee reiterated that we need to protect our loved ones, especially those who are older and at risk. This responsibility falls to all of us, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, and neighbors, to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Find more details on Inslee’s announcement here.

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