Evictions are Death in an Epidemic: Call on Whatcom County Governments to Act on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, our nation, our county, and our cities are unprepared for the challenges ahead. Public health officials and scientists have recommended that people stay home, that large gatherings be cancelled, that everyone with symptoms should get tested, and that business not go on as usual. Yet, the realities of capitalism demand that working class people leave their homes to go to work, often in high-traffic areas and even when sick; if they do not, then they will face unemployment, eviction, utility shutoffs,  homelessness, starvation, and death. Wage and gig workers are already losing hours in a community where many live paycheck to paycheck. Healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line to fight this crisis, we have an obligation to lessen their burden by doing our part.

When Whatcom County declared a public health emergency, officials said to avoid bringing together large groups of people—loosely defined as 10 to 50 people or more. Yet restaurants and local businesses remain open, forcing workers to make impossible choices.

All public and private schools in Washington will be closed through at least April 24 to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus. How will parents and caregivers find childcare and keep their families safe if irresponsible local businesses choose to keep their doors open?

In order to meet the demands of this public health crisis and fulfill your duties as public servants, Whatcom DSA is calling on Whatcom County, and the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale, Lynden, Nooksack, and Sumas to use every tool at their disposal for as long as needed to ensure the economic and physical security of our communities. Emergency measures should not have expirations dates until public health officials deem conditions safe.

Our immediate demands are as follows:
- Freeze (moratorium on) both residential and commercial evictions & foreclosures;
- Freeze utility shut-offs;
- Require 3 weeks paid sick leave available to all;
- Stop the sweeps on homeless neighbors and provide emergency services;
- Build additional shelters to prevent overcrowding;
- Institute price-fixing for essential household goods & medical equipment to prevent corporate price gouging;
- Release all people incarcerated for nonviolent offenses from local prisons;
- Release all people caged in the ICE detention center (1431 Sunset Ave, Ferndale, WA 98248);
- Fund a publicly-owned, publicly-run secular hospital. We have needed more hospital beds for decades and this crisis highlights the inadequacies of our privately-owned, profit driven system.

Our governments must not prioritize profits over public health.

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