It has been a month since we’ve issued local and statewide orders to stay home, stay healthy. Our residents, business and neighbors have done extraordinary work together with much success. Our efforts are working. Everett and Snohomish County are leading the state in flattening the curve. At one point, Washington state had more COVID-19 cases than anywhere in the nation. Now we’re not even in the top ten. While we’ve made progress, we haven’t yet reduced transmission rates and new cases to the point that would allow us to safely release all restrictions in place. Every day still brings new infections. Every day still brings tragic loss of life.
I know this is incredibly hard and frustrating. So many of our residents are worried about losing their jobs, losing their businesses, losing their homes. And rightfully so. This pandemic is having devastating effects, causing tragic loss of life, illness and a significant economic toll. The economic toll on the city is what we discussed last week at council and today we are bringing forward a budget amendment to begin to address that.
There are steps we can take now to prepare ourselves and our city to reopen, slowly and safely. It’s important to hold steady and to keep following the public health guidelines and data that have informed our actions so far, and use it to determine safe next steps to re-open the economy.
I am working together with our City teams, Snohomish County Executive Somers, County Councilmember Megan Dunn, Snohomish Health District, and other mayors and regional partners on our plan for dialing our economy back up and reopening our businesses as soon as it is determined we may do so safely. It calls for a sector-based, gradual and phased-in approach – with testing, tracing, monitoring and evaluating – to ensure that we don’t trigger a resurgence of COVID-19.
I plan to share more in the next couple weeks and work alongside our business community to ensure we are prepared for this next phase and can safely go back to work together.
In the meantime, it is of utmost importance that we continue to stay home and practice physical distancing when we are out in the community to keep us all safe.