SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane City Council approved a modified emergency declaration by Mayor Nadine Woodward that extends protections against evictions during the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The declaration bans residential and commercial evictions, except in the case of imminent threat to people or property. 

It also bans all fees related to late rent payments.

The measures were passed unanimously, with council members expressing gratitude, even amazement, at how quickly the measures were passed. The protections go beyond those that have been instituted at the state level, or that can be found almost anywhere else in the country.

The rules apply within Spokane city limits, but a statewide moratorium on evictions related to not paying rent was previously implemented as well. Both of the declarations are currently scheduled until April 30, after which both can be reviewed for further implementation.

The declaration initially included a section discouraging gatherings of 25 people or more; that language was removed in anticipation of Inslee's stay-at-home order.

It also originally proposed a requirement that landlords offer tenants graduated payback plans after the crisis is over; that language was removed after it was determined it would need to be a separate ordinance, since provisions in an emergency declaration are only in effect during said emergency, according to Council President Breean Beggs.

The resolution is enacted through April 30, though can be renewed.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has also previously ordered all bars, restaurants, recreational and fitness venues to close until the end of March. restaurants can still provide take-out and delivery options, but may not operate a dining room. All public and private K-12 schools are also closed through April 24.

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