SEATTLE (AP) — A look at virus-related developments in Washington:
Washington state is set to receive nearly $3 billion from the federal stimulus bill passed to help with the economic hit from the coronavirus outbreak, with at least $1.6 billion coming directly to the state, and the amount to be allocated to local governments to be determined by the U.S. Department of Treasury in the coming weeks, said Casey Katims, Gov. Jay Inslee’s director of federal and interstate affairs. State and local governments will be taking huge budget hits due to the shutdown of many businesses.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT BUSINESSES
A day after the release of a website where people can report violations of non-essential businesses operating in violation of the governor’s current stay-at-home order, the state has received more than 4,000 complaints through the online form, according to David Postman, Gov. Jay Inslee’s chief of staff. Postman said they will be wading through the complaints and following up with the businesses. The public has been told to not call 911 to report individuals or private groups who are not following the proclamation, but should instead contact local law enforcement.
FERGUSON WARNS PRICE GOUGERS
Washington’s attorney general is warning Amazon sellers who hike prices on virus-related products like hand sanitizer and face masks that he could sue them. Attorney General Bob Ferguson ’s office said Tuesday it sent letters to five Washington-based independent sellers who raised prices. “We will use all of the tools at our disposal to prevent price-gouging during this public health emergency,” Ferguson said in a statement. Ferguson said one seller based in Spokane raised the price of an 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer from just over $3.50 in January to an average price of more than $25 — a more than 600 percent increase. Some buyers may have paid as much as $40 for the product.