Reported COVID-19 cases have risen to record-breaking counts on a daily basis this month —
Businesses and nonprofits already pummeled by the pandemic now face another challenge: Money allocated to
Elected officials and business owners are reluctant to hope for more funding from the state or federal government.
“We are on our own,” said
The county has used it to pay for COVID-19 testing, hire contact tracing staffing at the
Businesses used the grants to pay rent, staff and bills. Nonprofit organizations helped families stay housed and provided more food and meals than ever before.
There are some rolling relief programs that will remain open for the rest of 2020 until all funds are spent, like rental and mortgage assistance, transportation, affordable housing and business relief.
Earlier this week
A total of
The state announced on Friday
Cities have used up most of the funds to reimburse measures they took internally to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including installing shields at public counters, buying face masks, paying overtime and hazard pay to public employees and setting up employees to work remotely.
Cities gave to resource centers like food banks and homeless shelters and utility, rent and child care assistance. Local businesses received help from cities. One city,
The Republican proposal does not include additional flexible funding to help state, local and tribal governments replace revenue lost due to COVID-19.
“When your house is on fire, you get everyone out and you put out the fire — you don't pause to question if you're using too much water,” Murray said in a statement to
“I won't stop fighting until we get this done, because our communities can't afford for the federal government to waste any more time.”
When the virus hit in March, Dammeier expected a national, or even state standard of testing by June. The county has provided free mobile COVID-19 testing sites since July.
“It's still the county out here leading on the testing, and that boggles my mind,” he said.
“We may be on our own here. We may have to dip into our reserves for testing and human services response,” he said in a Tuesday study session. “We are not going to have nowhere near what we've had these past few months.”
The executive is more hopeful, but ready to use county reserves as needed to provide funding for contact tracing and testing.
“I anticipate the federal government will continue to do that if not the state will do that,” Dammeier said. “If not, we can't let our community go uncovered. If called to lead the county, we will step up.”
Dammeier is prepared to spend county dollars on testing and contact tracing if there is no aid elsewhere. The
From big to small, jurisdictions in
If more funding doesn't come in, they face finding more money locally or within their own budgets to fight COVID-19.
“The CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds expire at the end of 2020, and we need the federal government to pass an additional relief package that would include aid to all of the above sectors but would also provide direct relief to local governments,” Gallagher said Wednesday.
“The next legislation needs to include flexible relief that the city could deploy to help combat the ongoing COVID crisis and replenish lost revenues so that we can continue to provide essential services to our community.”
The city of
Sheltering, food assistance and rental assistance:
Digital access and distance learning resources:
Public safety response and medical equipment:
Child care assistance:
Utility payment assistance for small businesses:
Organization and reconstitution costs (teleworking, sanitizing, personal protective equipment):
The city used some of its own revenue for COVID-19 response, including
“The city would not have been able to cover all of its COVID-related expenses through (CARES Funding Relief) dollars alone,” city spokesperson
“The city believes that many residents, businesses, non-profits, hospitals and governments will face substantial financial challenges due to the continuation of the pandemic during the next few months, and beyond, without additional COVID relief,” she said in an email.
The city of nearly 80,000 has been using its reserves to continue “local government services,” Kelley-Fong said.
About 35 percent was allocated to rental assistance and boosting nonprofits to provide community services, according to the city dashboard. Local businesses received almost 40 percent of the CARES dollars, and another 25 percent went to the
A total of 19 businesses benefited from
In addition, 67 households benefited from
The remainder of the funding was used to assist the local food bank —
“If further federal funding came in, I believe we could easily utilize it for the programs we spent CARES funds on,” Loveless said in an email on Tuesday.
Local business owners are not optimistic about sales during the winter months and don't believe the government will help.
While the pandemic has been tough for his neighborhood bar, he counts himself lucky that it's survived. He doesn't know what's in store the next few weeks.
“It's like being on pins and needles. It's horrible to wonder if the government is going to allow you to open your businesses,” Fabre said.
He doesn't think some businesses, like those who don't own their building, will be able to open without grant help. Fabre said the federal government has a lot more work to do.
“It's a bad situation,” he said. “
As businesses like Fabre's lay off or furlough employees, more are anticipated to file for unemployment.
Since the crisis began in March, the
Dammeier is concerned about the domino effect of the new restrictions.
“I'm very concerned about unemployment, and (the restrictions) will likely increase those numbers,” he said.
Hair salons like
“We are not breaking even. We are absolutely depending on government aid to survive,” he told
He employs 27 employees. Brown has prepared to be conservative with cash management and added some personal investment to keep the hair salons going until a vaccine is widely available.
Cole Graphic Solutions' owner
The manufacturing employees have all gone part-time and are receiving health benefits, Ogle said, but sales have dropped to the point where she is personally propping up the company.
“We are family, and we care deeply about our employees. We wouldn't be here without them,” she said. “It's heartbreaking.”
She doesn't believe any more help from the government will come, but she's also for a smaller government and less spending.
“I think we have lost faith in my government to do anything right now,” she told
Nonprofits like the
“We've blown through all of that money quickly,” Cabiddu said.
She is worried that fewer jobs will result in a higher unemployment rate and ultimately homelessnesss when the eviction moratorium ends on
The resource center is relying more on private donors to pick up what the public sector might not provide, Cabiddu said.
Because of CARES funding, nonprofits have been able to keep up with the growing needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, said
“(Nonprofits) are not without concern about how long can you maintain that level of intensity and having the capacity to continue help people,” Ponepinto told
Local health care systems with hospitals across the
“Support from the federal government on supplies helped us get through,” Edwards said. ” We needed it to open up a COVID-19 ward and get all the ventilators.”
MultiCare, which owns Tacoma General, Mary Bridge Children's and Good Samaritan, received
“Additional federal funds would be helpful, but without them MultiCare will be able to continue as a vital community asset,” she said.
He said more federal assistance is still urgently needed to support significantly increased testing, contact tracing, and providing personal protective equipment.
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