Inslee Covid Mask

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee walks past the state flag as he arrives to speak at a news conference, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Inslee announced new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings for the next four weeks as the state continues to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases. 

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced additional funding for businesses hurt by Washington’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The package announced Friday totals $135 million in aid, Inslee said in a news conference.

That includes — but is substantially more than — the $50 million Inslee said would be available on Sunday, when the governor imposed new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings as cases and hospitalizations rise.

The governor also said he’s looking for ways to ease the expected increase in taxes on businesses that kick in to replenish the state’s strained unemployment-benefits fund.

That would achieve relief “in the hundreds of millions of dollars” in the coming year, said Inslee, who added that details are still being worked on.

The announcement includes increased funding from the relief package passed by Congress known as the CARES Act, which funded the original $50 million in relief.

The state’s rise in COVID-19 cases continues, Inslee said Friday, and the state is set to report “more than 2,000 new cases reported today.”

“We are in a very difficult situation and we are acting to save people’s lives in Washington,” said Inslee.

The decision to increase aid came after conversations with lawmakers and others in recent days, said Inslee.