Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'd like to begin this update by thanking the people of the 13th District for the incredible sacrifices you've made the past few weeks. The coronavirus outbreak has changed our lives in many ways. Few of us have experienced anything close to this full-scale societal shutdown. The restrictions and new COVID-19 safety guidelines including social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing, have all helped address the potential healthcare surge feared at the start of the outbreak.
Our efforts have largely proven successful. Slowing the virus' spread, so that fewer people need to seek treatment, is known as “flattening the curve.” With that goal met, state government must now begin the process of reopening the state's economy.
That's why Republicans in both the House and Senate put together the “Safe Economic Restart Plan.” The guidelines provided in the plan provide information on how we can get industries and workers back on their feet quickly. I encourage you to take a few moments to review the plan. As always, if you have any concerns, contact me. I'm happy to answer any of your questions.
Hunting and fishing restrictions eased
At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, fallout from the epidemic included restrictions placed on some outdoor activities—some of which were unnecessary. Hunting and fishing were examples of “social distancing” before it was a thing. These outdoor, isolated activities can be enjoyed without human-to-human contact. With the proper guidelines in place, I do not believe they should have been curtailed. Click here to read a letter sent to the governor, signed by myself and several of my House colleagues, requesting that these activities be permitted.
I'm glad to see the governor listened to our request and eased restrictions on fishing, hunting, and access to wildlife areas. Day trips to most state parks and public lands are also allowed, as long as the sites are close by. Visitors to Washington's state parks should check state webpages for which sites are open.
Other recent announcements from the governor include allowing some non-urgent medical procedures, golfing, and the resumption of work on existing construction projects. Of course, with the easing of these restrictions comes a reminder that everyone must continue to follow coronavirus safety guidelines, including keeping the 6-foot social distancing rules.
Helpful resources and information
Need help or information with coronavirus-related issues? The following webpages can help:
- Washington state's official coronavirus site | coronavirus.wa.gov
- Employment Security Department | esd.wa.gov
- Department of Labor and industries | lni.wa.gov
- Superintendent of Public Instruction | k12.wa.gov
- Department of Health | doh.wa.gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | cdc.gov
- Resource list for impacted Washington businesses and workers
Crisis moments sometimes bring opportunity: the chance to be kind to others, to connect in new ways, and to work toward a common good. COVID-19 hit my hometown of Quincy hard at the beginning of March, with the first coronavirus-related death in Eastern Washington. Grant County, in which Quincy resides, has had a total of 180 cases and 3 deaths.
Faced with this high infection rate, local leaders worked together to implement practices to protect our communities. Farmers, hospital administrators, fire and police departments, school district officials, migrant clinics, and the ministerial association continue to rally support for people that need it. These efforts have helped my hometown to battle back from the impact of the virus.
I'm telling you this because it serves as an excellent reminder that the war against COVID-19 must be a team effort. In the days ahead we will face many challenges. We must balance public health concerns with economic realities. It's more crucial than ever that local and state government officials work alongside civic and private sector leaders for the sake of our state's full recovery.
Information on future updates
Because of election-year restrictions that begin May 11, this will be my last email update to you until after the November election results are certified. The exception is if we go into a special session. However, I can respond to constituents who contact me throughout the year. Your emails, calls and letters are always welcome.
It's an honor to serve you!