Brianna Lopez, Staff Writer
The country is still suffering from COVID-19 and numbers are rising and declining rapidly. One day there are little cases and other days the cases are through the roof in numbers. Here in the state of Washington, we have officially made our way to Phase Three of lockdown, allowing us to go about our normal lives. For Thurston County, because the county is such a close-knit community, it was easier for us to go through lockdown and still move through the different phases, hence why Saint Martin’s University is in session currently.
Due to Thurston County’s immediate response to the pandemic, according to The Olympian, the county is expected to receive a total of $56 million in just COVID Relief Funds from the Federal Government. This article was written by Martin Bilbao and he stated that these funds would be received over the course of the year. Of course, the first half will come within a couple of weeks to months and the other half would arrive within the next year or so.
The money would be coming from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act signed by current President Joe Biden two weeks ago on March 11. The act is separated into 11,006 sections, each section stating how the country as a whole will function from now on whilst in the middle of a pandemic. For example, Subtitle B- Nutrition of the new act has to do with improvement in assistance for SNAP online purchasing and technology improvements, and the list continues from there.
Of course, because Thurston County is not the only County in Washington, it had to be divided within the state. According to County Manager Ramiro Chavez, from the $65.1 billion that was brought together for all counties in the state of Washington, Thurston would be receiving $56 million and the money has been divided already based on how it will be used. The money will be available not only for business recovery but also for infrastructure improvements and maybe even transitional housing.
From that first $28 million the county manager could come up with $10 million to give to Thurston Strong. This a community that has helped countless local businesses and different organizations whilst dealing with the pandemic. Chavez stated that the money would be separated as such; $3 million, $2 million, and $5 million. The first $3 million would be given as grants for minority-owned businesses, the $2 million would be for the farm-owned businesses and the last $5 million would be for other businesses that are in need of some serious help and recovery. The county of course will have to revisit the subject to make sure that everything is in order when it comes to money. Whether or not the money is going to be used appropriately is very important not only to the county but to the U.S treasury as well.
This pandemic has harshly affected businesses both big and small. The funds are being used for the right reasons, and hopefully, with these continued resources, businesses will be back in full swing.