By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday extended the state’s eviction moratorium through Aug. 1, saying the intent of his order was to prevent an increase in homelessness during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Seattle Times reports that the moratorium -in place since March and extended once - was scheduled to expire this week.

It prohibits, with limited exceptions, residential evictions and late fees on unpaid rent. It also requires landlords to offer residents a repayment plan on unpaid rent.

The state’s unemployment rate jumped to a record 15.4% last month after businesses closed or reduced operations under a stay-at-home order that expired Sunday night.

Counties can apply to move through a four-stage reopening plan based on virus benchmarks in their area, including number of new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period. So far, more than two dozen of the state’s 39 counties have been approved to the second stage, which allows some businesses to reopen, including dine-in restaurants at half capacity.

More than 22,100 people in Washington state have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least 1,129 have died. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

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