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Gov. Inslee approves $200 Million in emergency funds in response to COVID-19 outbreak



- Olympia, WA


March 17:

2 p.m.

Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign a measure allocating $200 million in emergency funding to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. The money, which the state Legislature approved last week, could go toward setting up quarantine sites, freeing up hospital beds, and aiding businesses negatively impacted by the virus.

Last week Inslee said this funding could just be the start.


10:13 a.m.

Amazon will limit what it receives at its warehouses to cleaning equipment, medical supplies, household goods and other essential items, impacting large vendors and third-party sellers that use Amazon warehouses to ship their items.

The online store has been sold out of many household goods and cleaning supplies because of high demand from online shoppers.

For now, shoppers can still order clothing and other items Amazon already has in its warehouses. The restrictions will be in place until April 5.


9:37 a.m.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that President Donald Trump wants the government to send checks to Americans in the next two weeks in an effort to curb the economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak.

He did not give details except to say that the amount would be significant and millionaires would not receive them.


8:44 a.m.

The state Department of Social and Health Services will limit visitors at its state-run residential psychiatric treatment facilities, adult care homes and other state-run residential programs in response to the new coronavirus outbreak. The change is effective immediately.

All visitors are barred from residential habilitation centers including Fircrest School in Shoreline and state-operated living alternatives. It does not apply to end-of-life situations.

At psychiatric and competency restoration facilities, visitors will be limited to professionals and advocate associations. Such facilities include Western State Hospital and the Special Commitment Center in McNeil Island. The Child Study and Treatment Center in Lakewood will continue to allow visitors to the children residing there, however, the visitation will be limited to one adult visitor per day.


8:10 a.m.

Several tribes are shutting down their casino operations for at least two weeks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in Washington state.

The Puyallup, Suquamish, Tulalip, and Snoqualmie tribes said they want to do their part to stop the spread of the virus. They will continue to pay their employees during the closures.

Tribes across the state have already closed large events like concerts and poker tournaments.


7:15 a.m.

Nordstrom said it will temporarily close all of its stores for two weeks starting Tuesday as it tries to limit the spread of the new virus. The Seattle-based upscale chain operates 380 stores including 116 department stores. It is the latest retailer to announce temporary closures and joins such chains such as Nike, Everlane, Apple and Abercrombie & Fitch in closing its doors. Like most of the other chains, Nordstrom said it will be providing pay for its employees during the period. The company is also withdrawing its annual financial guidance, noting a slowdown in consumer demand, particularly in markets affected by the coronavirus.


6 a.m.

Officials said the state Department of Licensing will temporarily close its driver licensing and other service counters to the public starting Tuesday to help limit the spread of coronavirus. The state agency said employees will work in the next week to implement social distancing measures at the offices allow more people to renew their driver license or ID card online.

Officials said laws and rules have been temporarily suspended by Gov. Jay Inslee that require residents to visit an office to renew every other time and prohibited customers over age 70 from renewing online. Offices are expected to resume business March 23 but residents should be prepared for the possibility of extended closures.


1:41 a.m.

A Delta Air Lines flight bound for Seattle was temporarily grounded at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday night after a passenger informed a flight attendant that they may have been previously exposed to the coronavirus. Delta said Flight 2503 returned to the gate so the passenger could be evaluated and the plane cleaned. It's not clear if the passenger in question was allowed back on the plane. The plane arrived at Sea-Tac Airport about 3 hours later than originally scheduled.


BY: TEGNA SEA/ AP

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