Following Public Health – Seattle & King County’s local health directive, the City of Seattle will provide over 45,000 free cloth face coverings to vulnerable communities and agencies that support these communities, including people experiencing homelessness, shelter providers and clients, low-income older adults, and food bank staff.
Throughout this COVID-19 crisis, the City and King County have made it a priority to bring supplies to nearly 30 human services agencies, including critically needed items like surgical masks, N95 masks, gowns, face shields, soap, gloves, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies. Today’s announcement of new supplies builds on these efforts, following updated public health guidance that instructs all residents to wear face coverings in indoor public settings and outdoors where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
I’m deeply grateful to our community-based partners for their help making, procuring, and distributing face coverings to our most vulnerable communities. At this unprecedented moment, individuals and businesses should continue innovating, creating, and donating cloth face coverings.Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
The City’s 45,500 cloth face coverings are sourced from local businesses, including women- and minority-owned businesses and nonprofits. The City will distribute the masks in partnership with community-based organizations that serve immigrants and refugees, older adults, people with disabilities, and people experiencing homelessness. The City will also distribute masks to food banks and meal providers, including Seattle Public Schools and Meals on Wheels, and the City will reserve a number of masks to distribute at hygiene locations and shelters. Below is a breakdown of where the City plans to distribute these face coverings:
- 5,500 to affordable housing providers
- 15,000 to community-based organization
- 5,000 to food banks
- 6,000 to meal programs
- 5,000 to programs serving older adults
- 7,500 to shelter and hygiene service providers
- 1,500 to small business
Face coverings will be distributed to homeless service providers in partnership with King County Department of Community and Human Services. Distribution logistics are being finalized and will be shared once that information becomes available.
We like washable face coverings! The Low Income Housing Institute is one of the many frontline organizations providing shelter, housing, and hygiene services to people that are living without a home during this public health crisis. Our staff and clients need to take precautions to make sure we do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Thank you to both the City of Seattle and the generous support from the community in helping make more face coverings available to service providers like us.Sharon Lee, Executive Director of the Low Income Housing Institute
While the City was able to procure over 45,000 face coverings, in addition to King County’s 115,000, the community need far outweighs what local governments can provide alone. If your agency needs free cloth face coverings, contact the Seattle Mask Brigade at United Way’s Donation Portal, King County Donation Connector, or Washington Mask Challenge. Please feel free to contact Seattle Human Services at HSDCOVIDinfo@seattle.gov if you have specific questions or requests for resources.
The City plans to provide enough face coverings for shelter staff and clients to receive two washable face coverings each, allowing for one to be available when the other is being washed. We look forward to continuing our partnership and we will continue to find additional ways to support the work of community-based organizations in the weeks and months ahead.
In addition, it is critical to note that there are valid reasons why some people can’t wear face coverings – please do not discriminate. If you experience or witness harassment or an act of bias, report it to the Seattle Office for Civil Rights Anti-Bias hotline at 206-233-7100. You can also report online at seattle.gov/reportbias. If it is an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
Where to get the most up-to-date public health information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DOH, and PHSKC have issued specific guidance to help communities and businesses prepare. You can find guidance for the general public, schools, workplaces and employers, travelers and health care professionals as well as a more detailed Q&A here.