‘This isn’t about economy over physical health’: Mayor Woodward concerned over new COVID-19 restrictions

Spokane's new mayor explains plan to follow through on campaign promises
Nadine Woodward
Former TV news anchor Nadine Woodward has now taken office as the new Mayor of Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward expressed concern Saturday night over Governor Inslee’s newly-announced restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.

“Will closure of restaurants/bars direct more people to risky behavior that’s causing spike in cases – private gathering?” Woodward posted on Twitter. “Can’t we provide an outlet & tweak hours/drinks served?”

Woodward said the hospitality industry has been the hardest-hit sector in Spokane County, and she asked if workers, many of whom she says live paycheck-to-paycheck, will get unemployment.

RELATED: Spokane Hospitality Grant opens Wednesday, aims to support struggling local hospitality industry

“Spokane County has funneled $100+ million in CARES Act funding to small businesses, nonprofits, rent relief, childcare, educational support,” Woodward posted. “How do we survive this next shutdown?”

After Inslee announced the new restrictions on Sunday, Woodward issued the following statement:

“As difficult as this news is for everyone, today is about renewed resilience. People are hurting and need to be lifted up and supported to the best of our individual and collective abilities.

The virus has put many at extreme risk of severe health impacts, significant financial hardship, or both. Stepping back is not something anyone wants. Please keep your loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, and those you have not yet met as your top priorities. That means wearing a mask, limiting your trips to only necessary outings, and supporting your local businesses through their struggles by using online and takeout options. The timing, right before the holidays, is particularly devastating. Referenced state financial support for local communities needs to come as quickly and decisively as the state interventions enacted today.

We will continue working together to find safe ways to move all areas of our lives safely and responsibly past this virus. We are all in this together and it will take our collective efforts. The holidays are a time for giving and putting others first. The Spokane community has been doing that for months and will rally again in a time of even greater need.”

Woodward said that the fallout of a COVID-19 lockdown is far-reaching—she argues that children “falling through the cracks of our educational system” will never catch up, and there will be an increase in domestic violence, suicide and mental health issues.

“This isn’t about economy over the physical health of our community,” Woodward said, “It’s about both, and so much more. It’s about protecting those we know are most vulnerable. Making sure we have enough testing. Targeting Covid hot spots in business sectors and making adjustments.”

RELATED: Gov. Inslee announces new statewide restrictions on dining, gatherings as COVID-19 cases surge

RELATED: Washington Hospitality Assoc. fears 100,000 people could lose their jobs if further statewide restrictions take effect