PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington state lawmakers from both parties gathered Monday to brainstorm ways to effectively aid the local hospitality industry.
The bipartisan effort to prevent an economic disaster comes as the state’s, shutdown is almost a week underway. State Senator Karen Keiser (D) of Washington’s 33rd District said the holdup to relief is coming from the federal level and that families are depending on immediate action.
“We’re going to have people’s holidays ruined, their dreams ruined,” Keiser said. “They will lose their jobs. And because they’ve already used up their unemployment, they will have a real problem accessing benefits.”
We spoke with Kim Ayla of Joe Brown’s Cafe in Vancouver about what kind of impact the current restrictions were having on the business. Ayla said the cafe was forced to layoff its employees for a second time since the pandemic began.
“It’s not fair,” said Ayla. “We were just getting in the grovve then they came and shut us down again.”
Though Governor Jay Inslee recently announced $70 million in grant money for restaurants and hotels, it only amounts to about two days of coverage in a 40-day shutdown.
The next legislative session doesn’t start until mid-January, but the bipartisan group claims it will start working on relief measures right away — likely in the form of more grants and tax relief.