Seattle Emergency Service and Entertainment Industry Economic Stimulus
Governor Inslee, Mayor Durkan and Associated Legislative Representatives and Bodies,
As a group of approximately 200,000 individuals of independent restaurant owners, service staff, chefs, performance and visual artists in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area alone, we constitute a sizable percentage of the Washington state population and are responsible for its dynamic culture.
We thank you for the recent measures in granting this community relief in the form of signing an emergency order to halt residential evictions as well as initiative to protect Seattle's local art scene with the recent Arts Recovery Package.
We can only assume this is just the beginning. While we recognize our important responsibility in containing COVID-19 and protecting those loved ones and compromised individuals especially at risk, you are aware we are still substantially jeopardized by recent mandates to close all of our businesses. Under normal conditions, many of our staff live on the precipice of losing their housing and standard of living due to high rent costs and the inherent seasonality of both the hospitality and entertainment industry. While addressing the issue of having one of the highest rates of homelessness in the United States and foreseeing those imperiled contributing to those numbers, we are still asking for your help during this critical time.
Fewer workers than those who have the ability to work remotely are more vulnerable than these employees. We have seen many businesses close with the sense they may not be able to reopen even after the mandate has been lifted. Innumerable members of the workforce from all age groups, ethnicities and backgrounds have been put out of jobs (some temporarily and others permanently) who had previously been living paycheck-to-paycheck. We need promise of expanded rent forgiveness in the form of a complete and total elimination of rent payment for the duration of this pandemic for affected individuals, loan abatement, eliminating taxes on payroll and extended emergency sick pay at a local, state and federal level. We are aware of ongoing legislation at all rungs of the ladder and are grateful for the assistance that is being provided, but many of us are still in fear about what the future holds for our industries.
We have understood that the correct choices have been made by your office in keeping the people of Washington safe. Down the pipeline of this pandemic, we ask for your immediate help in keeping our small businesses and their restaurant and entertainment workers economically safe as well. Governor Inslee and Mayor Durkan, we have elected you for your sense of leadership and making the toughest of calls in a time of need. These are the same crucial and immediate decisions we need made to show us you believe in the continued well-being and unity of Washington state.
The Restaurants, Cafes, Venues and All Associated Employees of Seattle