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Financial Relief for Hospitality Workers - Applications Open Now

The application for the Seattle Hospitality Worker Emergency Relief Fund is now open. While the vaccination rollout means we are starting to begin our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the corresponding recession is far from over. I believe this relief for our hospitality workers, one of the hardest hit industries during this pandemic, is another example of the City’s commitment to supporting of our most vulnerable residents and reflects our shared values of prioritizing relief to small businesses and workers.  

Hospitality workers that have experienced economic distress caused by job or income loss due to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 per family. An individual could receive $1,000, with an additional $200 per dependent, up to $2,000 per family. 

I recognize that this is just a drop in the bucket of relief needed for our City’s workers, but I hope this bit of help is able to assist as we continue to fight at the federal, state and county level for funding to help those most impacted by this crisis. 

For more information or to apply, follow the link here.

COVID Vaccines

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the COVID-19 vaccine and hundreds of front line workers have been able to get vaccinated, we must continue with this momentum and work on efforts to get the vaccine distributed to our high-risk community members as quickly as possible.   

Due to the current limited supply of vaccines available, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has created a COVID-19 vaccine prioritization guidance. We are currently in Phase 1a of the process, where workers in high-risk healthcare settings and people in long-term facilities can get vaccinated. DOH and Pubic Health Seattle-King County (PHSKC) have been working with community partners to increase access to everyone who is currently eligible to get vaccinated are able to visit a vaccination site. If you work at a healthcare facility or a type of long-term care facility please use the Phase Finder tool to do a short online assessment to see if you are eligible for a vaccination and to find your closest vaccination site. If you are eligible, the cost for the vaccine will be covered by your healthcare provider and if you are uninsured the vaccination will be free.   

The COVID-19 vaccine is one of many tools to help keep people safe and healthy and slow the spread of the virus, however even if vaccinated you must continue to follow the CDC guidelines. Please continue to wear your mask, stay at least 6 away from others, wash your hands often, stay home and limit contact with other.   

COVID-19 Reopening

Yesterday on January 11th King County entered Phase 1 of the Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery plan. This plan announced by Governor Inslee last week aims to safely ease some restrictions while making sure we maintain crucial hospital capacity available. Phase 1 aligns with restrictions that were already in place with the exceptions of allowing some indoor fitness and outdoor entertainment to function with restrictions. This moves us a bit more towards our full economic recovery, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our community as we do so. Some of the metrics that will determine moving to Phase 2 of the recovery plan will include:  

  • A decreasing trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population (decrease >10%)  

  • A decreasing trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population (decrease >10%)  

  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%  

  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%  

To remain in Phase 2:  

  • A decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population  

  • A decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population  

  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%  

  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%.  

If a region fails to meet two or more of these metrics, the region will be moved to Phase 1 again.  Let’s all do our part to stop the spread and ensure we can move forward to Phase 2 as quickly and safely as possible. 

Hazard Pay

Next week, I'll be introducing and hearing in committee a bill to provide a modest "hazard pay" to grocery workers.  Much like many of you, I've spent more time at home cooking during COVID-19 (and frequenting take out from local restaurants -- that's important too!).  Every week when I go to the grocery store, I see busy stores and employees who are working sometimes mere feet away from customers with masks under their nose or under their chin.  It's why a recent study found that 20% of grocery workers at a grocery store in Boston tested positive for COVID-19.  Grocery store workers still show up at work—many for near minimum wages — to serve our community, to make sure they can put food on their families' tables AND so that we can put food on ours.   

The risk of getting sick with COVID-19 continues to escalate despite a full year of living with the pandemic and taking steps to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe.  The state's vaccination timeline continues to push out the scheduled phase for grocery worker vaccinations; while some grocery workers will be vaccinated in February, most won't get the opportunity until April or May, or even later.   

I'm honored to stand with grocery workers, who will join gig workers in our city in their fight for pay that acknowledges their sacrifices for Seattle residents and that acknowledges that grocery stores are bringing in record profits during this pandemic.   

If passed, Seattle will become one of four municipalities in the country leading on a $4-5/hour hazard pay for grocery workers, with San FranciscoLong Beach, California, and Los Angeles County.  Seattle will also continue its long tradition of being at the forefront of workers' rights and equity for all who live and work in this city.  

This legislation will be heard in my committee on Friday, January 22nd at 2:00pm and only applies to workers in larger grocery stores.  I look forward to hearing from you that day and in the coming weeks.

Cuba Resolution

Data / estimated infection numbers from the UW's Institute for Health Metrics as of January 10, 2021

Yesterday, I introduced a resolution requesting cooperation and exchange between the American and Cuban governments, health care systems, and other medical research entities, to combat COVID-19.  COVID-19’s physical and mental health as well as economic repercussions have been front of mind for Seattle residents for the past year.  During a time of global pandemic, we should be engaging in more exchange of information; in particular with the health disparities our BIPOC, and in particular our Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities have been facing as a result of COVID-19.  With Cuba’s reported lower death toll and a higher rate of saving patients in critical and serious condition and of sending medical teams to other countries to help with COVID-19, an exchange of information is the least we should be doing to help our country and others having a fighting chance against this pandemic.  This resolution will be up for a vote next Tuesday, January 19th and I hope you’ll join me in advocating for a faster and stronger recovery. 

In solidarity,
Teresa Mosqueda

Seattle City Council Councilmember, Position 8
Copyright © 2021 Seattle City Council, All rights reserved.

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