Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign a bill this week allocating $2.2 billion in funding for COVID-19 relief.
The Washington legislature approved a bill on Wednesday allocating $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 funding. The emergency clause will take effect immediately, providing Gov. Inslee with additional funds for distributing COVID-19 efforts, as well as prevention.
Under the bill, $668 million will be allocated to schools as they move toward bringing students back to the classroom. Additionally, $618 million will go toward vaccine administration, contact tracing and testing. $365 million will go toward rental assistance to help renters and landlords affected by the pandemic. Small business remain eligible to received nearly $250 million in state grants. Hundreds of millions will be made available to support child care facilities, food banks, and undocumented workers who fail to qualify for state assistance.
The bill passed out of the Senate Wednesday afternoon by a 47-2 majority.
Additionally, the governor announced Thursday evening that five regions met the metric requirements to progress to Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, saying they will be able to do so starting Sunday, Feb. 14. The holiday weekend provides a large portion of a restaurant’s yearly revenue, and by moving up the region’s reopening date will allow dining establishments to benefit.
“I know this creates more options for restaurants to make Valentine’s Day special for couples who hoped they could have a night out,” Inslee said. “I am confident people, young and old, will celebrate safely. And if it’s a first date that doesn’t go well, remind them to stay six feet away from you.”