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Coronavirus In Seattle
caption: Jon Hartley puts a bag of artichokes into the trunk of his car after shopping at Costco on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Seattle. 
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Jon Hartley puts a bag of artichokes into the trunk of his car after shopping at Costco on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle to provide grocery vouchers to more than 6,000 families amid coronavirus outbreak

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that the city will provide $5 million in grocery vouchers to families impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The city will provide $800 dollars in vouchers to 6,250 families already enrolled in city-supported child care and food assistance programs, according to a press release from the Mayor’s office.

Families may use the vouchers to purchase food, cleaning and household supplies at any Safeway store in Washington, the release states.

Tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, and fuel will not be covered by the vouchers. Families will also have to sign up for a free Safeway membership to use the vouchers.

Each family will receive two $400 vouchers in installments in the mail. Vouchers may be distributed starting as early as this week, according to the Mayor’s office.

“We know that working families in Seattle are already struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools and child care facilities close, we need to do everything we can to support families and ensure they can put food on the table,” Mayor Durkan said in a statement.

“Our city has been working on many new unprecedented efforts as it relates to housing assistance, meals, and small businesses, but we know it is not enough for the families struggling. Ultimately, we will need an unprecedented relief package from Congress to address the long-term consequences for working people who are already feeling the impact of this global pandemic.”

The move has received support from several Seattle City Council members.

According to the Mayor’s office, the program may be expanded to include more families with the help of private and philanthropic partners in the coming weeks.