SEATTLE — King County just reported a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases among young adults.
There’s been a rise of cases around parts of Western Washington as businesses started to open back up.
With the holiday weekend upon us, public health officials urge everyone to keep a safe distance and to wear face coverings in public.
It has been a busy Wednesday morning. Driver after driver stopping by the Pyramid Alehouse parking lot in SODO.
Drivers are picking up their free “Safe Start Kit” filled with disposable and reusable face coverings and bottles of hand sanitizer.
“We are serving about 600 companies today,” said Sarai Childs with Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce. “They are small businesses, most of which are under 50 employees. And a lot are under 20 employees.”
Several chambers teamed up to hand out 300,000 face coverings for free in SODO.
Another free PPE giveaway event will be held Thursday at the Showare Center in Kent.
In total, King County bought 25 million face coverings —five million re-usable cloth ones and 20 million disposable ones to give out for free to everyone who works and lives in the county.
“(That’s so) King County could stay at the forefront of keeping that curve, that epidemiological curve flattened,” said Brendan McCluskey of King County Emergency Management.
“There’s 70,000 small businesses in king county. That’s across 39 cities,” said Kristina Hudson of OneRedmond.
Many businesses are starting to reopen again. Charlene Ung’s Cambodian restaurant in the Chinatown I.D. will open for service Thursday.
“Revenues have gone down a lot so we have to open up,” said Ung, who stopped by the free PPE giveway event in SODO. “(These) face masks are good; we can give it to our employees- the ones that we can reuse. It will save us from going out and buying all these disposable ones.”
But concerns linger over the region’s increasing COVID-19 cases.
“Our employees are like, ‘You know numbers are going up. They’re not going down. You sure we want to open?’” said Ung.
Under the governor’s direction, Washington State is slowing down when it comes to reopening.
“The numbers are going up right now so a face covering is a really easy way to protect others and to start to curb that spread and hopefully reduce that infection rate so we can continue to be in Phase 2 and we can continue to reopen and reopen safely,” said Sarai Childs with Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce.
“Face coverings actually do improve the ability for us to mitigate the transmission of coronavirus,” said McCluskey.
Now, more than ever, face coverings—especially the free ones given out by King County-- are important for everyone—employees as well as customers and clients.
“It means a lot because we are retail. We’re front line. So, having the masks, having the hand sanitizer is perfect for us,” said Shawn Sedha, who operates a retail business and a real estate business in North Seattle.
King County Emergency Management says for more information on how to secure free PPE for your business or organization, contact the city you live in or contact your community association.
You can also check out this website.
Future Safe Start King County events include July 1 at Kent Showare Center and July 8 at Starfire Sports in Tukwila.