Kitsap is in Phase 2 of the pandemic Safe Start plan

Key provisions of Safe Start Phase 2

Business law

  • Recreation: Fewer than 5 people not in your household can gather with you outdoors.
  • Indoor gatherings, social & religious: Gather with 5 people or less other than your household weekly.
  • Travel – Essential travel, plus non-essential travel near your home.
  • High risk people – Continue with Stay At Home Stay Healthy protocols

What businesses can reopen under Safe Start Phase 2?

  • Manufacturing
  • New construction
  • In-home services, such as child care and housecleaning
  • In-store operations with restrictions

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Free legal services for Kitsap County

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Kitsap Legal Services provides civil legal advice and information to the residents of Kitsap County experiencing economic hardship. Even if you were earning a good income last year, KLS helps people whose current income is 200% of the national poverty level (a little more than $2,000 per month for a family of one). Typical requests involve family law, housing, and debt/bankruptcy. However, the help they can provide depends on the specialties of their current volunteer attorneys.

Safe appointments are available. Just call KLS at 360-479-6125 or email [email protected] If you qualify for services, you will meet with a volunteer attorney by phone or video conference.

Are you anticipating a problem when the Eviction Moratorium is lifted? Continue reading

Kitsap County Phase 2 Safe Start delayed

Even as Gov. Inslee announced criteria for moving to Phase 2 of the state’s recovery plan, Kitsap Public Health confirmed a new case of COVID-19. An employee at a Kitsap long term care community tested positive. As a result, the Health District is making no recommendation about a Phase 2 variance until at least May 28. They will investigate how this new case could impact community. 

Kitsap Public Health continues to work on the recommendation to the health board during the delay. “We are all eager to take steps toward resuming regular business and social activities in our county, but we have to make sure we can take those steps safely and sustainably,” Kitsap Public Health District Health Officer Dr. Susan Turner said. “We appreciate the understanding of Kitsap residents as we move forward with care.”

Kitsap Court Clerks’ offices remain closed; Courts open

Most of the restrictions on Kitsap County court activity have been extended Here’s a quick summary.

  • The clerk’s offices at both courts remain closed.
  • If you are in need of a protection order – there is IN PERSON assistance available.
  • In addition to in person assistance from the Family Law Court, we have an after hours phone number to connect you with a family law attorney to handle family law emergencies. Call 253-381-6395 or call the office number during regular business hours – 360-876-9221.
  • Emergency relief in other types of cases is also available – although, you need to e-mail the clerk for a hearing.
  • Trials continued to be suspended.
  • Emergency hearings are being held – but, it has to be an emergency.
  • For more details about criminal courts check out our criminal defense attorney’s post. Our criminal defense attorney advises that the courts are working toward decisions about how to move forward but we have no new details yet.

Our offices remain open to serve you virtually

The seven GSJones attorneys remain available to help you with your legal needs by phone and video. Call us during regular business hours or use our message form to set up a virtual appointment. We are here for you whether you need legal help with employment issues, a will, probate, estate planning, divorce, child custody issues, domestic violence, protection orders, pre-nups and other family law services, bankruptcy, personal injury, business or tax concerns.


COVID-19 Single-parenting, co-parenting

single-parenting co-parentingThe dangers of COVID-19 present special, even dire problems for single-parenting, co-parenting and extended family parenting. Two recent articles cover many of the issues with sensitivity, insight, and practicality.

“I Never Felt Like a ‘Single’ Parent. Then the Coronavirus Hit.” sums up what so many have overlooked during shelter-in-place orders. It quotes social psychologist Bella DePaulo that fewer than one in five U.S. households consists of married parents and their shared children.

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COVID-19 Housing Payments

housingHousing payments are due now for most of us. For many of us, help is on the way. Most of us will receive a one-time stimulus check of $1200 or more. Maybe you also expect $600 additional dollars in each unemployment check. However, we don’t have that money now and we owe rent or mortgage payments now.

The good news is that there are three moratoriums on evictions during the pandemic. Washington State and Kitsap County both have blanket bans on evictions for failure to pay rent. The new federal legislation covers housing secured under federal programs.

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Evolving unemployment benefits information

Here’s what we know about unemployment benefits now

unemployment benefitsWashington State has more generous unemployment benefits than many states.  In addition, the new CARES Act both covers workers usually not covered and adds an additional $600 to each payment through the end of July 2020. Check out this helpful Q&A on unemployment claims during the pandemic.  Their answers cover gig workers, parttime workers and many of the ways COVID-19 is disrupting employment. That includes options for people with COVID-19, as well as people who care for someone with the virus or cannot work because your children’s schools are closed.

While benefits are more generous, the Employment Security Department is inundated with claims and struggling to process them quickly. It’s best to sign up for their COVID-19 updates.

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COVID-19 unemployment insurance covers more workers

covid-19 unemployment insurance

Are you a gig worker, self-employed or work fewer hours than usually needed to qualify for unemployment? You may soon be able to apply for COVID-19 unemployment insurance payments. That’s the advice of Washington State Employment Security. The CARES Act, a part of the new federal stimulus legislation, covers many workers not usually eligible. Just signed into law the state is still translating the legislation to fit with our own rules and procedures.

Employment Security expects to be ready to accept your applications by mid-April. The fact that the system is not ready does not count against you. Benefits start on the date you are eligible, rather than the date you apply.

The best way to determine when to file is to sign up for the state COVID-19 action alert.

Of course, if you already qualify for unemployment relief under current state laws, apply now. As you may have heard, an additional $600 per week will be added to each unemployment check through July 31, 2020.


Kitsap Property Tax Changes

The Kitsap County Treasurer announced a temporary extension of the property tax deadline until May 31, 2020. Treasurer Meredith Green encourages every person and business to pay property taxes now if they can. Importantly, these payments support the essential and emergency services we all require. However, she acknowledged that these are unusual times. “Kitsap County will temporarily extend the property tax deadline for residential and commercial taxpayers to May 31, 2020. Continue reading