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Federal Way mayor reaching out to seniors and restaurants during coronavirus

Testing for coronavirus continues to be slow in the U.S. (Getty Images)

The coronavirus is impacting every single person across Washington state, both directly and indirectly. We’re not just talking about a public health crisis; it’s also hurting the economy. We’ve been checking in with cities large and small all across the region, from Kent and Covington to Mill Creek.

Jim Ferrell, the mayor of Federal Way, joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss how his city coping with the outbreak, especially with regards to seniors and restaurants losing business.

“Coronavirus hits people who are susceptible and have age issues; we’ve got a number of senior housing facilities in Federal Way, and we’ve been reaching out to quite a number of them to make sure that they have everything they need, and make sure the lines of communication are open and doing everything we can,” Ferrell said.

Is he getting the sense that folks are taking the self-distancing seriously, whether it’s individuals or just businesses allowing for options like telecommuting?

“Yeah, people are taking it very seriously. I think they understand. I think there’s a great deal of information out there in the media, and local governments are taking it very seriously. Here in the city of Federal Way, everybody that can telecommute is doing so.”

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“But I also think it’s important that city operations stay up and running to help the people of the community.”

Economically, people are going to be hurting, particularly restaurants in Federal Way. Is there anything being done to help them out at this point?

“We’ve got a great economic development team in place here at the city, and we have visited a couple of dozen restaurants around our community, and every restaurant, barbershop we can get to to talk to those folks and really connect them not only to the information, but also the services and help them navigate, whether it’s SBA loans or loans from other organizations,” he said.

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“Frankly, hearing the governor talk about the micro loans and putting out that $5 million reserve fund, I think is a great idea. I think one of the things that is actually fairly historic … is there’s a one year moratorium on having to pay back the SBA loans, which is unheard of.”

Since many restaurants are closing, Federal Way is also trying to help the employees find work.

“Since you’ve got these sit-down restaurants that are closing, one of things we’re doing is try to help those folks that are temporarily laid off get over to the grocery industry who actually are in the process of hiring.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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