Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced that the city will be giving out $5 million in grocery vouchers to help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington has been hit particularly hard, and earlier than other states, by the novel coronavirus. According to the mayor the voucher program will provide $800 to 6,250 families as vouchers to “purchase food, cleaning supplies, and other household goods at any Safeway store in Washington state.”
For many people dealing with this frighteningly new experience, food assistance is not simply a humane issue, it’s a public health issue. If you want families to be able to stay home in the hopes of flattening the curve of the virus, we need people to feel like they can afford to stay home. This voucher plan will be directed at families already enrolled in the city’s child care programs and food assistance programs.
Tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, and fuel are exempted from the list of things that can be bought with the vouchers. According to the mayor’s office families will have to sign up for a free Safeway membership, which while very bothersome philosophically, seems to be the best of a bad situation where our federal government has shown that it is not up to the task.
The Emerald City just began human trials for a possible COVID-19 vaccine at Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, the results of which will not be known for quite a few months.
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