Initial COVID-19 Response

March 5, 2020

The health and safety of our students, staff, clients, volunteers and supporters are FareStart’s top priority. As the COVID-19 situation escalates in our community, we wanted to share what FareStart is doing to help ensure its programs and social enterprise businesses continue to run smoothly – and safely. We are taking the following actions:

  • Continuing to provide 4,000 meals and snacks a day to local shelters and schools that rely on us, with increased safety measures.
  • Continuing to follow all CDC and Seattle-King County Public Health guidelines.
  • Participating in calls with Seattle-King County Public Health, the City of Seattle and health and human service providers on COVID-19 planning and best practices.
  • Working closely with our housing and community partners to help safeguard our students.
  • Encouraging all staff and volunteers who are high risk or who whose work can be accomplished remotely (e.g. administrative positions) to work from home or take excused time off through Monday, March 16. 
  • Implementing strict protocols for staff, students and volunteers who may display symptoms of COVID-19 while on FareStart properties. Individuals must be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to FareStart. 
  • Temporarily amending our time off policy to support staff during this virus outbreak.
  • Employing additional cleaning and sanitation protocols across all FareStart facilities.
  • Temporarily suspending the use of all personal cups/tumblers at our cafes while honoring discounted pricing for customers.
  • Switching to pre-packaged disposable utensils at our cafes.
  • Making contingency plans in case our programs and social enterprise businesses are impacted by fewer staff, students or volunteers.
  • Canceling non-essential events and workshops.
  • Restricting unnecessary staff work travel out of the Seattle area.

For now, all FareStart programs, services and social enterprise businesses remain operational. We will continue to assess our policies and procedures as the situation evolves.

What can you do to help?

1. Protect yourself and follow guidelines from the King County-Seattle Public Health. 

2. Stay informed and help dispel misinformation and discrimination associated with COVID-19. Resources here. 

3. Donate to support FareStart’s mission and help ensure students receive critical training and services. As businesses encourage their staff to work from home, our social enterprises are being impacted. You can ease our losses during this difficult period with your support.

4. Once this period of caution ends, come back and dine with us often, join us for Guest Chef Night, and hire FareStart Catering for your next gathering.  And support other local restaurants and cafes, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis – and leave generous tips!