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On December 8, 2020 Governor Inslee announced a three-week extension of the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions. The restrictions limit restaurants to outdoor dining and takeout and close indoor operations of gyms, museums and movie theaters. In-person retail stores – including grocery stores - are limited to 25% capacity.
The statewide restrictions will remain in place through January 4, 2021. [See full restriction list HERE]
According to the Governor's Office, the three-week extension comes as the state’s healthcare system nears dangerous occupancy levels. Nearly 80% of ICU beds are currently occupied with around 1,000 people in those units. With the effects of Thanksgiving on COVID-19 infection and hospital numbers still unknown, the extension will grant the state’s medical system needed time to increase Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity before it’s overwhelmed.
The governor also announced an additional $50 million in economic support for workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown said the additional funding will double the number of Washington small businesses that will receive aid. Industries recently shut down, such as restaurants and fitness centers, as well as businesses that have been devastatingly impacted throughout the pandemic, like music and event venues, have been prioritized.
Small businesses struggling to survive the impact of COVID-19 can apply for up to $20,000 in state grants. Information and applications for business grants are available through an online portal on the Washington State Department of Commerce website at www.commerce.wa.gov/bizgrants. Commerce encourages businesses to apply by December 11th.
The City of North Bend continues to encourage residents to support our local businesses by shopping and eating local. Most businesses offer curbside pickup, online ordering and delivery and additional outdoor dining capacity.
Mayor Rob McFarland commented, “Due to this restriction extension, it is more important than ever for our community to support local businesses. Shopping and eating local this holiday season are critical to ensuring our businesses survive.”
The City also thanks residents for their efforts to Mask Up, Spread Out and Keep their Circles Small to slow the spread of coronavirus in our community. It is critical that we continue that effort throughout the winter to #KeepNorthBendHealthy.