A mural in the Chinatown International District. Photo by Stephen Giang

As of July 1, there are 34,151 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington state, including 1,342 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. Statewide, 584,989 tests have been done, 5.8% of them positive. In King County, there are 10,535 confirmed cases, including 615 deaths. 

Washington state just hit a new record for coronavirus cases in a single day, with 716 cases reported today, the Seattle Times reported.

Wondering where to get tested for coronavirus? The Seattle Times keeps a continually-updated list of testing locations in Puget Sound. 

As COVID-19 cases rise in Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee announced new emergency rules including a ban on seating in bars, and a plan next week requiring businesses to only serve customers wearing face masks, the Seattle Times reported.

A two-alarm fire at the Eng Suey Sun Plaza in the Chinatown International District on June 25, has left tenants in limbo after major structural damage adds to an already uncertain future caused by Covid-19, Angela Toda reports in the International Examiner.

This piece by Angela Toda featured photojournalism from Karen Ducey, who was recently awarded an SPJ Western Washington Passion Project Grant for an upcoming independent project documenting the Chinatown-ID during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During the coronavirus pandemic, Karen Ducey seeks to document the social, economic, health and cultural issues challenging the Chinatown-International District community in Seattle. She said the project, ‘…Aims to bring forward the people impacted and those on the front lines; highlight the stories, work and challenges; and illustrate what it means to be part of this community, at this specific time.’”

Researchers believe the protests following the murder of George Floyd do not seem to be causing a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Seattle Times reported. This suggests the virus spreads less easily outdoors, where there is better air circulation. “The data may be imperfect but … neither here in King County, or elsewhere in the county, where health care authorities are looking, have we been able to document that or find strong evidence of that,” Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer of Public Health — Seattle & King County told reporters. Some researchers disagree.

Round 2 recipients of the CID Business Relief Fund have just been announced. The fund, managed by SCIDpda, Friends of Little Saigon, and the Chinatown International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA), awarded 77 businesses in the CID. More information regarding Round 3 is coming soon. The fund is still accepting donations at scidpda.org/cidbizrelief

Sharon H. Chang reports for the South Seattle Emerald on how the children of immigrant restaurant owners in the CID and beyond are helping their parents keep these restaurants afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A City Council tax on the payrolls of big businesses to fund COVID-19 relief and affordable housing was passed out of the budget committee on July 1, the South Seattle Emerald reported. City Council may vote on the final bill July 6. The tax would start generating an estimated $214.3 million per year once it fully ramps up in 2022. In its first two years it would invest in COVID-relief, including housing and homelessness prevention, grants to small businesses and childcare providers, financial assistance for immigrants and refugees, and emergency grocery vouchers. The legislation, first introduced by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, replaced a larger tax introduced by Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales, which would have raised $500 million per year with a similar payroll tax structure. The tax is significantly larger than the Employee Hours Tax that City Council passed in 2018 but repealed a month later. Morales celebrated the legislation as an important step forward in investing in communities of color, and praised south Seattle organizations for their advocacy, including Got Green, Puget Sound Sage, InterIm CDA, El Centro de la Raza, and the Rainier Beach Action Coalition.

The International Examiner is back in print this week! Distribution will be limited to businesses in the CID and Little Saigon (and subscriptions). The IE did not print in the months of April, May and June because of social distancing. 

CID Community Watch, a new volunteer neighborhood watch group, is looking for volunteers. The group patrols the neighborhood nine times per week, from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fri through Saturday. The group’s number one tool to improve public safety is being visible out on the street, either as a helpful presence or a watchful eye, according to co-founder Matthew Toles. Those interested in joining can join the Facebook group, or show up at Hing Hay Park at 10 p.m. any night. You can read more about the group in the International Examiner.

The Seattle Bon Odori celebration has been held for 88 years, hosted by the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. Due to COVID-19, the celebration is going virtual this year. Those interested can join the celebration on YouTube July 18 at 4:00pm for the premiere of the online event. More information online at www.seattlebetsuin.com/vsbo 

This year would’ve been the 45th annual pig roast at the Danny Woo Community Garden, but because of the pandemic, InterIm CDA has decided to cancel. The huge gathering of community elders wouldn’t be safe, says Danny Woo garden manager Lizzy Baskerville. While organizers think of potential alternatives to the pig roast, they’re also remembering what the event has meant for the community over the last 45 years. Read the full story by IE contributor Claudia Yaw here.

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