Together, our community is facing a truly unprecedented time. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We truly hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy during this trying time, and we thank you for your ongoing support of the Lighthouse.

On March 23, Washington State Governor Inslee announced a mandatory “stay-at-home” order. In compliance with this order, Lighthouse facilities in Washington State began operating with a limited workforce on Wednesday, March 25th, focusing on certain functions and contracts supporting the Federal Government, while sending most employees in the Seattle and Spokane facilities home. We are closely monitoring the situation and following recommendations made by King County Public Health, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control.

We continue to take the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously. We are doing our best to care for the health and well-being of our employees, customers, donors, and the communities in which we operate.
The Lighthouse has taken the proactive measures below to limit the potential exposure and impact to our employees from novel coronavirus:

• We have kept our employees aware of what COVID-19 is, the symptoms, and ways to prevent the spread of infection. We continue to communicate with employees, even though they may not be on-site at our facilities, sending reminders about safety precautions and strategies for staying healthy during this time.
• We are taking daily temperature checks of employees before beginning their work shifts, and ask a few medical-related questions to reduce the potential for transmission and spread of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace.
• We are connecting employees to resources both within the Lighthouse and throughout the community.
• We have expanded our existing leave policies to mitigate the financial burden our employees will face during the “stay-at-home” order.
• We will continue to follow public health recommendations for best practices for organizations to reduce the risk of infection in our community, especially within the vulnerable populations that we serve.
• We immediately stopped hosting school groups, public tours, fundraising and community events, and volunteer groups once the social distancing recommendations were announced.
• We postponed our Lighthouse Low Vision Services Grand Opening Celebration, initially scheduled for April. We will follow all recommended social gathering guidelines and further postpone the event if necessary as the pandemic unfolds.
• We canceled our Cocktail Party fundraising event that was scheduled for May 29th in Seattle.
• We remain vigilant at consistently disinfecting all facilities.
• We are continuing to work together as a community to support each other as we mitigate the uncertainty surrounding this virus — the safety of our employees, clients, customers, and community is always our top priority.

Now more than ever, we need the community’s support as we strain to ensure employment opportunities and critical support programs for individuals who are blind and DeafBlind in our community. In uncertain times, vulnerable populations can become even more isolated and depend on community services even more. Individuals who are blind and DeafBlind face additional and amplified challenges during the pandemic, including reduced transportation options, and difficulty shopping and navigating within the community during social distancing.

During these unprecedented times, our employees who are blind, DeafBlind, and blind with other disabilities would be grateful for your support and partnership as we continue to empower people through diverse, sustainable, and meaningful employment opportunities.

Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding as we do our part to keep the community safe and healthy.